North Shore homeless numbers climbing, survey finds

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August 6, 2020 – Brent Richter/North Shore News

North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Bowinn Ma said she has personally been pounding the pavement trying to find suitable sites for supportive housing on the North Shore. The difficulty is finding a partner willing to put up the land.

“The province does have a ton of money on the table,” she said. “It could be built within half a year. The province will fund 100 per cent of the capital at 100 per cent of the operating cost of these projects. We just need land partners.”

To help people find shelter during the pandemic, BC Housing has put up funding to house 20 people in hotel rooms on the North Shore, Ma added.

Ma said she believes most people have been able to make rent, but she also has been personally dealing with constituents facing eviction for the first time.

“There absolutely is a percentage of renters who have been unable to meet their rental obligations during COVID-19 and I do worry about them very much,” she said.

BC is the only province to have offered a provincial rent subsidy during the pandemic, she added.

North Shore residents who find themselves on the brink of eviction or having their utilities cut off should look into interest-free loans available through the Harvest Project’s North Shore Rent Bank, Ma said, and BC Hydro has a relief plan in place as well.

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