Homelessness Action Strategy

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Homelessness Action Strategy


Project Update, June 1: Many thanks to all who took the time to share their priorities, ideas and stories as part of the Homelessness Action Strategy engagement. We heard from over 300 community members through our survey, more than 30 stakeholders and service providers through various methods, and approximately 80 community members with lived and living experience through our targeted engagement. A summary report of all the engagement activities part of this project is now available here.

Our gratitude also to the many folks with direct experience of homelessness, whether themselves or someone close to them, who shared their stories in our survey. We have created a visual summary below to highlight those experiences.

Next Steps: City staff have actively reviewed and incorporated input from all of the engagement activities summarized in the Engagement Summary Report. The project team expects to present the draft Homelessness Action Strategy to Council in July 2022 for their consideration of approval. The engagement report will also be provided to Council as part of the Strategy package.


The Homelessness Action Strategy will develop a five-year vision and plan for addressing homelessness in New Westminster. The strategy will aim to meet the diverse needs of local community members who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, by seeking to ensure that facilities, programs and services are responsive, and that barriers to access are eliminated or significantly reduced. It will also seek to address business and resident concerns related to homelessness.

The development of the strategy will involve people with lived and living experience of homelessness, businesses, residents, and service providers in New Westminster. Regarding people with lived and living experience of homelessness, efforts will be made to incorporate perspectives and voices that are often not heard, with the goal of ensuring that the strategy is responsive to their diverse and unique needs.


Why do we need a new strategy?

It has been over a decade since the City completed its previous Homelessness Action Strategy (2006). During this time period, there have been many accomplishments related to addressing homelessness, including:

  • establishing a Homelessness Coalition Society;
  • developing 28 emergency shelter beds, and 165 transitional and supportive housing units;
  • preparing and annually updating an Extreme Weather Response Plan, which results in additional shelter capacity during the winter months;
  • publishing and regularly updating a ‘Helping Hands’ brochure and ‘Survival Guide’ that list available local resources;
  • adopting business licensing regulations to discourage the practice of ‘renovictions’ from rental housing; and,
  • funding the administrative costs of the New Westminster Rent Bank Program.

Despite these many accomplishments, which resulted in a 58% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in New Westminster between 2008 and 2017, new challenges have emerged. These include; a housing affordability crisis, an overdose epidemic, extreme weather events, and a global pandemic. These challenges are not unique to New West but are significantly impacting local residents, and are leading to a significant increase in homelessness. As a result, City resources are taxed, and business operators and residents are concerned. A new strategy, partnerships, and coordinated actions are needed to address these challenges.

Key partners

The preparation of the strategy is being led by the City, in collaboration with:

  • the Homelessness Coalition Society, which includes over 20 organizations with a mandate to address homelessness;
  • the Community Action Network, which utilizes the expertise of people with lived and living experience of homelessness; and,
  • the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, in which graduate level students are conducting research, assisting with consultation activities, and proposing actions to address homelessness and associated impacts.

A working group with participants from the key partner groups has been established to help guide the strategy project and engagement.

How can I engage?

We are looking for the community to provide feedback, including confirming and identifying community concerns or issues, potential opportunities, and proposed actions for addressing homelessness.

Completed/Ongoing Engagement


Community Conversation on Homelessness: Be Part of the Solution

On February 17, the City hosted an online Community Conversation event to help inform the development of the New Westminster Homelessness Action Strategy. The event featured a panel discussion, a question and answer session, and small group discussions with participants.

A recording of the panel discussion is now available below to watch below. Catch up on the conversation with local service providers, individuals with lived experience of homelessness, and policy-makers. Please click here to view the a copy of the slides presented during the event, and click here to view the verbatim notes from the breakout discussions.



Project Update, June 1: Many thanks to all who took the time to share their priorities, ideas and stories as part of the Homelessness Action Strategy engagement. We heard from over 300 community members through our survey, more than 30 stakeholders and service providers through various methods, and approximately 80 community members with lived and living experience through our targeted engagement. A summary report of all the engagement activities part of this project is now available here.

Our gratitude also to the many folks with direct experience of homelessness, whether themselves or someone close to them, who shared their stories in our survey. We have created a visual summary below to highlight those experiences.

Next Steps: City staff have actively reviewed and incorporated input from all of the engagement activities summarized in the Engagement Summary Report. The project team expects to present the draft Homelessness Action Strategy to Council in July 2022 for their consideration of approval. The engagement report will also be provided to Council as part of the Strategy package.


The Homelessness Action Strategy will develop a five-year vision and plan for addressing homelessness in New Westminster. The strategy will aim to meet the diverse needs of local community members who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, by seeking to ensure that facilities, programs and services are responsive, and that barriers to access are eliminated or significantly reduced. It will also seek to address business and resident concerns related to homelessness.

The development of the strategy will involve people with lived and living experience of homelessness, businesses, residents, and service providers in New Westminster. Regarding people with lived and living experience of homelessness, efforts will be made to incorporate perspectives and voices that are often not heard, with the goal of ensuring that the strategy is responsive to their diverse and unique needs.


Why do we need a new strategy?

It has been over a decade since the City completed its previous Homelessness Action Strategy (2006). During this time period, there have been many accomplishments related to addressing homelessness, including:

  • establishing a Homelessness Coalition Society;
  • developing 28 emergency shelter beds, and 165 transitional and supportive housing units;
  • preparing and annually updating an Extreme Weather Response Plan, which results in additional shelter capacity during the winter months;
  • publishing and regularly updating a ‘Helping Hands’ brochure and ‘Survival Guide’ that list available local resources;
  • adopting business licensing regulations to discourage the practice of ‘renovictions’ from rental housing; and,
  • funding the administrative costs of the New Westminster Rent Bank Program.

Despite these many accomplishments, which resulted in a 58% reduction in unsheltered homelessness in New Westminster between 2008 and 2017, new challenges have emerged. These include; a housing affordability crisis, an overdose epidemic, extreme weather events, and a global pandemic. These challenges are not unique to New West but are significantly impacting local residents, and are leading to a significant increase in homelessness. As a result, City resources are taxed, and business operators and residents are concerned. A new strategy, partnerships, and coordinated actions are needed to address these challenges.

Key partners

The preparation of the strategy is being led by the City, in collaboration with:

  • the Homelessness Coalition Society, which includes over 20 organizations with a mandate to address homelessness;
  • the Community Action Network, which utilizes the expertise of people with lived and living experience of homelessness; and,
  • the UBC School of Community and Regional Planning, in which graduate level students are conducting research, assisting with consultation activities, and proposing actions to address homelessness and associated impacts.

A working group with participants from the key partner groups has been established to help guide the strategy project and engagement.

How can I engage?

We are looking for the community to provide feedback, including confirming and identifying community concerns or issues, potential opportunities, and proposed actions for addressing homelessness.

Completed/Ongoing Engagement


Community Conversation on Homelessness: Be Part of the Solution

On February 17, the City hosted an online Community Conversation event to help inform the development of the New Westminster Homelessness Action Strategy. The event featured a panel discussion, a question and answer session, and small group discussions with participants.

A recording of the panel discussion is now available below to watch below. Catch up on the conversation with local service providers, individuals with lived experience of homelessness, and policy-makers. Please click here to view the a copy of the slides presented during the event, and click here to view the verbatim notes from the breakout discussions.


  • Follow-up info from Community Conversation

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    We had a question during the February 17 Community Conversation on Homelessness event about what percentage of the New West homeless population is experiencing mental health and substance use challenges. We did not have the information at hand during the virtual workshop, so we are following up here.

    The most recent data we have on this for New Westminster is from the 2017 Homeless Count - we have not been able to access this information from the 2020 Homeless Count, which is the most recent count.

    It's also important to note that many of the community members experiencing homelessness who agreed to participate in the homeless count chose not to answer some of the demographic and/or health-related questions. Therefore, the statistics provided below are not a complete or current picture. As well, data for Metro Vancouver in 2020 showed an increase in homeless individuals experiencing mental health and substance use challenges, so these statistics should also be considered low.

    Out of the homeless people in New Westminster in 2017 who answered the questions about mental health and substance use:

    • 28.6% said that they had a mental illness;
    • 36.7% said that they had problematic substance use; and,
    • 16.8% noted having concurrent disorders (mental illness and problematic substance use).
Page last updated: 01 Jun 2022, 05:03 PM