Last year, police and firefighters were called to this shelter in Coquitlam – BC more than 700 times

The City of Coquitlam reports growing concerns about a supportive housing facility and homeless shelter.

The facility at 3030 Gordon Ave., operated by RainCity Housing, is the only permanent facility in the Tri-Cities region serving the homeless.

The project, which started in 2015, is putting a significant strain on the city’s resources, according to the staff report Monday before the council.

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Port Coquitlam daycare says nearby homeless shelter puts children’s safety at risk

“While 3030 Gordon is recognised as an important resource in the community, council has long had concerns about the implementation of the programme and its impact on the surrounding community,” the report said.

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Last year alone, the facility and the tent city that has sprung up around it were responsible for 218 calls to the fire department and about 500 calls to the police for incidents including overdoses, fires and disturbances.

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Nearby business owners like Wes Banh, who runs a family-owned auto business, say the impact is noticeable.

“Break-ins in the store,” he said. “I’ve had to deal with a lot of feces, a lot of feces.”

“I don’t know what the solution is, but at least make it seem like you want to do something,” he added.

The city has identified a number of key priorities for the provincial government to address, including increased funding for services to support people living on the streets and a new framework and funding for improved shelter and housing services.

Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development is advising the mayor to write a letter to BC Housing and provincial and federal ministers outlining the city’s concerns and costs related to the 3030 facility.

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The Mayor is also recommended to urge BC Housing to provide a progress report on the implementation of the recommendations in a recent operational evaluation of the 3030 facility.

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Monday’s report found that the Tri-Cities are experiencing an increase in homelessness.

According to Metro Vancouver’s 2023 homeless count, the community saw an 86 per cent increase in homelessness compared to 2020. That’s nearly three times the increase elsewhere in the region.

Macrthy Whyze, who distributes relief supplies to the homeless in the Tri-Cities, says he’s seen the growth firsthand.

“People need help. The help is not there yet. And as a result, we have people sleeping outside,” he said.

“They are local people who have often been on the waiting list for a long time. And the line and the time seem to keep growing.”

The report to council recommends that the city press the province for new commitments on homelessness, mental health and substance abuse, and calls for a sub-regional approach to new supportive housing and services.

Global News has reached out to the City of Coquitlam and Mayor Richard Stewart for comment.

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Simon Little

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