Homelessness and Mental Health Action Group

November 06, 2007 15:03 ET

St. Andrew's-Wesley Homelessness and Mental Health Action Group-Media Advisory; End Homelessness Now Public Forum: Getting The "Chronically Homeless" Off The Streets

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 6, 2007) - Every night, there are approximately 700 homeless people sleeping in temporary shelters in Vancouver, but over 3,000 homeless people living on the streets. They can be found in parks, back alleys, doorways, under bridges and other places not fit for human habitation.

A free public forum dedicated to finding solutions to ending chronic homelessness will be held at St. Andrews Wesley Church (corner of Burrard & Nelson) in Vancouver on Thursday, November 15th, 2007. The Vancouver Men's Chorus will perform at 6:30 p.m. and the forum begins at 7 p.m.

The chronically homeless are mostly single adults who have been homeless for a year or more. These are typically the most troubling part of the homeless population, as they often suffer from addiction, untreated mental illness, or other disabilities.

Guest speakers include Heather Lyons, Homelessness Program Manager for the City of Portland and Ed Blackburn, Deputy Director of Central City Concern, an agency that has been working with homeless adults and families in the Portland area for almost 30 years. Forum moderator is Dr. Nancy Hall, the former Mental Health Advocate for the Province of B.C.

In 2005, Portland introduced a 10-year plan to end homelessness. It has resulted in a 13% overall decrease in the numbers of homeless in general and a 70% reduction in the number of chronically homeless in just two years.

Public Costs of Homelessness

While costs vary dramatically by on a case-by-case basis, the average public cost of managing one individual on the street is approximately $40,000 per year. This is because homeless people are frequent, if involuntary, users of services such as hospitals, ambulances, jails, emergency shelters and food aid. By contrast, the annual per person cost of a formerly homeless person with a mental illness drops to an average of $28,000 when they are moved to supportive housing and off the street.

Event: End Homelessness Now Public Forum
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Place: St. Andrews-Wesley United Church,
1012 Nelson Ave (corner of Nelson and Burrard)
Vancouver, B.C. Web: www.endhomelessnessnow.ca

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