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Take time to Connect
The Langley Homelessness Steering Committee presents the second annual Homelessness Action Week Connect event today (Thursday) at St. Joseph’s Church from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Last year, more than 50 people received a basic hygiene kit, 23 people received haircuts, 20 received flu shots and there were HIV/Hep C screenings completed.
Everyone who attended had something to eat and drink, met service providers and collected information on topics such as mental health, substance use services, housing, financial services (provincial, federal or budgeting/planning) and medications.
As of 2012 statistics, there were 378 homeless people in Langley. Of those, 117 were absolute homeless (64 females and 53 males.) There were 48 hidden homeless, 19 homeless due to a crisis and 16 unspecified.
The number of women and elderly has been on the rise since these figures came out.
According to the 2011 Metro Vancouver Final Homeless Count report, Langley has seen the highest increase of homeless at a 472 per cent increase over the last nine years.
“Homelessness can be working individuals living in vehicles because they can’t afford rent.
“Homelessness is our youth sleeping in sheds, abandoned cars and on the couches and floors of family, friends and strangers,” said Langley outreach worker Fraser Holland.
“Homelessness is a steady string of compromises that deteriorates pride and self-determination in exchange for the basic necessities of shelter and food.
“The fear of homelessness has our elders making choices between paying for medication or Hydro. It places decisions such as paying rent or buying groceries on the backs of struggling families.
“The fear of homelessness has aging parents risking their own housing security in order to help shelter their adult children.”
The Aldergrove Neighbourhood Services is also asking the community to buy bracelets with the words “a couch is not a home.”
The bracelets are available at the VanCity bank and Aldergrove Credit Union.