Follow-up info from Community Conversation
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).