Homelessness in Vancouver – The Howe Shelter

Comments 9 by Rebecca Bollwitt

The City of Vancouver is requesting public input with regards to the fate of the Howe Shelter. Until July 22nd they are asking Vancouverites to complete this survey pertaining to interim housing options.

Photo credit: seanorr on Flickr

“On any given night, at least 1,600 people in the city don’t have homes and many more are at risk of becoming homeless. The City and its partners have identified a need for at least 3,700 units of supportive housing (affordable housing with support services) in our city.” – source

Immediate response is requested as the Howe Shelter only has provincial funding to operate until July 31, 2009. Based on data collected and the public’s input the shelter could receive a funding extension through April 2010.

However, the shelter isn’t very popular in its neighbourhood which is why the City would really like the input collected in the survey.

“The closure of one of two homeless shelters on the north side of False Creek has led to a new problem in the upscale downtown neighbourhood. The 36-bed Homeless Emergency Action Team (HEAT) shelter at 1435 Granville St. was closed at the end of June following weeks of protests by area residents. The shelter — and another like it on Howe Street, which remains open — led to a plague of open drug use and dealing, public urination and defecation, prostitution and public sex, trespassing, theft, aggressive panhandling and harassment outside their homes, residents complained.” – CBC

Visit the City’s Interim Housing Strategy website to find out more about the options that are available and make your opinion count by filling out the survey.

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9 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. DarrenMonday, July 20th, 2009 — 1:13pm PDT

    I scanned that page behind the first link, and couldn’t for the life of me determine where the Howe Shelter is. Anyone?

  2. Miss604Monday, July 20th, 2009 — 1:20pm PDT

    Hi Darren, I updated the post. Seems like it’s in the False Creek area, though still no exact address.

  3. ChrisMonday, July 20th, 2009 — 1:26pm PDT

    I’m pretty sure it’s under the Granville Bridge between Beach and Pacific. I used to live a block away, and wish I still did. I would support this project, but now that I’m no longer a resident my opinion seems less important.

    We need more shelters outside of the DTES. Listening to some of the people who use the Howe shelter, the most common refrain is they don’t want to be in the DTES with its drugs and problems, and I don’t blame them.

  4. Mike BrownMonday, July 20th, 2009 — 2:46pm PDT

    All homeless must be housed, particularly in the winter months. I think the problem with the shelters set up near or under the Granville St. bridge is the city didn’t have monitors supervising the neighbourhood and areas near the shelters. The monitors, working at least in pairs, could politely remind the shelter users what wasn’t acceptable and if challenged the other monitor would have an instrument to summon police.

  5. NicknameHostageTuesday, July 21st, 2009 — 1:15am PDT

    The shelter’s address is 1442 Howe Street. It’s a small ivy-covered building nestled between an autobody repair shop and a consumer storage facility.

    The organization in large part responsible for the closure of the Granville shelter immediately across the alley from the Howe shelter calls itself the ‘Concerned Citizens of False Creek North’. They represent a very vocal minority of North Creek residents – mostly living within one block of the shelter – but they managed to make enough noise that the provincial government opted not to fund the Granville shelter past June 30th, and put the Howe shelter on probation til the end of this month.

    Recently, one of the angry villagers thought that it was appropriate to drop a bag human feces from Granville bridge onto the shelter residents below: http://tinyurl.com/n2byx4 (warning, content may disturb)

  6. Marion April T. CaparrosWednesday, July 22nd, 2009 — 12:09am PDT

    I am a Filipino and I reside in the Philippines for 21 years now. My teachers in gradeschool thought me how to love my country, appreciate our natural resources and be a proud Filipino which I really am, but sometimes think nothing is bound to perfection and admit that we have lapses too.

    It is right to say that however I am thought how to be nationalistic, time will come that one will realize the reality that is existing, something one cannot hide from. We have rampant graft and corruption here in the Philippines, leaving millions of Filipinos jobless, poor, hungry, and homeless.

    It is surprising to know that a big country like Canada is having same issues as some are left homeless, although may not be same level as what we have. Many Overseas Filipino Workers are looking for greener pasture in your country for them to be able to send their family a brighter future and sacrifice the cold nights, holiday seasons alone, missed birthdays, graduation and other special events of life of their loved ones.

    I am not trying to compare Canada and Philippines, what I am trying to point out is that, it may be right to say, that all of the nations in the world experiences same problems in one way or another. No one to blame here, not the people, not the type of government, but the situation and of course we cannot let this run forever, we have to do something to evolve and become better.

  7. DarrenWednesday, July 22nd, 2009 — 7:50pm PDT

    Thanks for the updates regarding location.

  8. CoraWednesday, July 29th, 2009 — 4:02pm PDT

    I’m really interested in getting involved and getting out into the community to help the homeless in Vancouver. I work on Granville Island and constantly see the same homeless people in and around the area on my commute. When I was a child the sight of a homeless person would make me cry because I didn’t understand why they didn’t have anywhere to go or anyone to help them. I ignored those feelings from my childhood for a long time but I’m definitely more than ready to get out there anD DO SOMETHING!

    If anyone could help me get into contact with an organization or group reaching into the homeless community I would greatly appreciate it!

    Much Thanks,


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