I would say that Maple Ridge, Burnaby, Richmond, Surrey and basically every municipality West of and including Hope has the most homeless people.Why?Because you can live on the street here in February and not die.
Just like California in America, that tends to draw a lot of homeless people to the region.Sometimes they give up trying to afford living in the GVRD and move out to Chilliwack or Hope, which is nominally better, but just about as warm.Now, there’s one interesting thing to note about the Down Town East Side: All the poverty is contained within a space of 14 blocks by 5.
This is what sociologists refer to as “concentrated poverty”.The rents are low here because the landlords can’t sell their properties due to how awful the neighbourhood is, and they don’t want to or can’t spend the money necessary to keep them in working order.And they certainly can’t raise the rent, because anyone with any means whatsoever wouldn’t touch these apartments without a biohazard suit.
In New York City in the 1970s, this spiralled out of control to the point where apartment blocks would “just burn down”.But as bad as it looks, that little space is getting smaller and smaller with every passing year, as developers chip away at this real estate and build new, much nicer buildings.Thus concentrating and worsening the poverty that exists here.
Try going to most any other equally large city in America, and you’ll find that the problem exists in some part of the city to a much higher degree, and in a much larger area.Now, you asked if it’s dangerous to walk down the street here.Maybe it has something to do with being Canadian, but even here it’s remarkably safe.
I used to work right at Ground Zero, next to Pigeon Park.I would frequently walk down to the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden to have lunch and watch the turtles in the pond.Oh yeah, and about half of the DTES contains Chinatown, which is quite nice, IMHO.
The Homeless Hub appears to have the most data and information on homelessness in Canada.Yes, Vancouver has a lot of homeless people, but according to that site Red Deer has more per capita (as does Calgary).Surprising to me due to how cold those cities are, but not surprising from the perspective of unemployment.
Homelessness isn’t just panhandlers on the street.It can be out of work people living in their vehicle.What I found interesting is Victoria was not on that list.
Using the site’s population and homeless numbers it puts Greater Victoria at 0.44% (the leader).It may not be data from the same year, but still it appears Victoria has quite a high population of homeless people.For whatever reason Victoria is often left off lists of Canadian cities (e.g.
housing affordability in the news), despite if often being a noteworthy city.Victoria is attractive to homeless for the same reasons as Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.The weather is forgiving (little to no risk of freezing to death).
Having lived in both Victoria and the lower mainland I have never had an any concerns from homeless people.I’d be a lot more worried about being downtown when the bar closes.The only time I’ve been targeted by someone downtown, it wasn’t from someone that was homeless.
I wonder if I’m a bit naive when visiting other countries.Should I be concerned about violence from homeless people?
I live in Vancouver.I was assaulted on the street recently.It was 5:45 AM, and I was waiting for the bus to go to work.
A guy appears on the sidewalk, yelling.He’s headed toward me.I’m keeping my head down, not making eye contact.
He starts shouting something at me, and then he pushed me into the street.I’m trying to get back to the sidewalk, but he keeps shoving me, and shouting at me.This was in Yaletown, one of Vancouver’s more expensive and oh-so-trendy areas.
I have walked and driven through the DTES (downtown east side) many times.I go there to deliver catering.I walk there because it’s on my way to other areas of Vancouver.
I have never been assaulted in the DTES.The few times I have had a negative interaction with someone on the street, other people stepped in to make sure I was okay.People hold doors for me when I pull my catering cart into a building.
People say hello and good morning.I once got a resume handed to me by a homeless man who was a chef.Most folks there are looking out for each other.
Yup, the Downtown East Side is a pretty tough neighbourhood.There is a lot of sadness there, but it’s the very best example of how people who have so little are the ones who give the most.Addendum: The other day while in this area, I got a giant, orange traffic cone stuck under the front of my van.
(Yeah.I don’t know how it got there, either.)I tried to pull it out, drove in reverse, drove forward, but nope.
It was kinda wrapped around the axle somehow.From out of nowhere, four big guys arrived and Picked Up the front of my van.I was able to untangle the thing and got it out.
High fives all around.
The Downtown East Side of Vancouver is the poorest large urban postal code in Canada.It also has a large number of services like shelters and safe injection sites that attract the homeless to this area.Finally, the weather in the lower mainland is very mild in the winter so the homeless mostly don’t freeze to death (this past winter was unusually cold so local churches opened their doors to the homeless).
With these factors, the DTES has the most homeless in Canada.However, it’s not particularly dangerous.Street people are not particularly aggressive in general.
Which part of Canada has the most homeless?I think I’m going to say Nunavut.I heard job opportunities are limited there.
Considering much of Nunavut is composed of tundra, which is icy land, most of the land is unusable.As for my response to your second question, no, Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside streets aren’t dangerous.Despite there’s some homeless who take drugs and have strange behaviors, their chances of hurting you is very slim.
It is somewhat dangerous to walk on the street in the DTES.Or rather, there are a disproportionate number of pedestrians hit by cars.