Most B.C. residents say government doing bad job on homelessness crisis: poll | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Most B.C. residents say government doing bad job on homelessness crisis: poll

A room at the Our Place shelter.

More than half of B.C. residents think all levels of government have done a bad job dealing with the homelessness crisis.

An Aug. 19 Research Co. poll found 61 per cent of B.C. residents think the federal government has done a "bad" or "very bad" job dealing with the issue.

Provincial and municipal governments didn't fair much better with 56 per cent thinking the province had done a "bad" or "very job" and 55 per cent thinking the same of their municipal government.

Almost three-quarters of people (73 per cent) said homelessness has increased across the province over the past three years, and 63 per cent says it has increased in their own municipality.

Forty-two per cent say homelessness has increased in their own neighbourhood.

When asked what was to blame for the issue, 60 per cent said addiction and mental health issues and 52 per cent the lack of affordable housing.

Just under a third (30 per cent) said homeless individuals' actions and decisions were the cause of their homelessness and 41 per cent blamed poverty and inequality. A further 24 per cent pointed the finger at a bad economy and unemployment.

And British Columbians aren't optimistic that homelessness can be solved.

"More than three-in-five British Columbians aged 55 and over (62 per cent) believe that the notion of a province without homelessness is unattainable," Mario Canseco, president of Research Co, said in a media release. "Fewer of their counterparts aged 35-to-54 (39 per cent) and aged 18-to-34 (34 per cent) are skeptical."

However, 47 per cent of respondents believe homelessness can be eradicated with the proper funding and policies.

As for solving the problem of homelessness, the majority of British Columbians agree with four different ideas to reduce homelessness in the province.

Eighty per cent would like to see increased temporary housing options for people experiencing homelessness, and 78 per cent would like to see government incentives to developers if they focus on building affordable housing units.

More than two-thirds (67 per cent) of those surveyed think the government should spend money to build unit to house the homeless and 60 per cent think local governments should change zoning bylaws to allow property owners to build more units on standard lots.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Ben Bulmer or call (250) 309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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