People Experiencing Homelessness

As the cost of living, particularly the cost of housing, continues to rise in the City, so does the risk of homelessness. As a member of the North Shore Homelessness Task Force, the City works in partnership with other North Shore municipalities, Vancouver Coastal Health, service providers, and other interested agencies to address the root causes of homelessness and provide housing and support services for the homeless.

In addition to the housing crisis, many people are struggling with poverty, chronic and/or underlying health conditions, mental illness, addictions, domestic and other forms of violence, aging out of care (foster youth), lack of employment and income opportunities, lack of access to service, and lack of affordable housing options.

Understanding Homelessness on the North Shore

It is difficult to get accurate statistics on homeless populations because they are not always “visible”. The concept of visibility includes those who are:

  • Visibly Homeless: in other words, individuals who are unsheltered
  • Hidden Homeless: individuals who do not have a home of their own where they have security of tenure (ex. couch surfing). They are considered to be “hidden” because they are less likely to access homelessness supports and services even though they are improperly or inadequately housed.
  • At Risk of Homelessness: individuals or households who are spending at least 50% of their income on shelter. They are considered to be in “core housing need” because they are at increased risk of homelessness through economic eviction (essentially not having enough money to make ends meet). 

The following statistics provide a snapshot of the North Shore homeless and at risk of homelessness populations:

  • Over 10,000 households on the North Shore are considered to be in "core housing need"
  • The food bank has seen a significant increase in the number of families accessing the food bank, from approximately 200 in 2019 to over 700 in 2021.
  • In 2020, the North Shore participated in a Metro Vancouver Homeless Count "Extended Count" pilot project (March 3-9, 2020)*
    • Total count: identified 212 homeless individuals
    • Approximately 75% identified as male
    • Approximately 25% identified as Indigenous
    • Approximately 25% were over 55 years of age
    • Approximately 20% were under 25 years of age

* NOTE: The 2020 count took place just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic therefore it's likely that the data no longer adequately reflects the state of homelessness given the economic impacts and policy responses stemming from the pandemic. The pandemic continues to exacerbate housing challenges for many individuals and households and it is acknowledged that the numbers presented here have likely continued to increase.

The latest homeless count was undertaken March 7-8, 2022 and new statistics will be available later this year.

North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative

The North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative (NSAHI) was a cross-jurisdictional Steering Committee and Working Group that collaborated to develop actions that are focused on clear, comprehensive and coordinated strategies to prevent homelessness, to serve the people who are currently homeless, and to create pathways out of homelessness.

The North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative (NSHAI) served as a forum for coordination amongst the five North Shore governments – the City of North Vancouver, District of North Vancouver, District of West Vancouver, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh Nation) – and other levels of government and agencies with direct and indirect authority for homelessness initiatives, supportive policies, funding, and capital investments.

With the completion of the North Shore Homelessness Action Initiative report, the five North Shore governments will work closely together on the following key outcomes:

  • A shared vision and understanding of the issues, complexities, and the policy and housing needs related to homelessness
  • The creation of 12 priority actions focused on:
    • Advocacy for and implementation of a single point of entry and housing first model;
    • Commitments to improve and expand collaboration and communication between jurisdictions and partners, including the informal continuation of the Working Group;
    • Consideration of new policy ideas and response protocols to improve on the ground communications, equity, and consistency in Municipal and First Nations response across the North Shore; and
    • The collection, monitoring, and sharing of data to understand current and future needs as well as support public awareness and dialogue.

Related Documents

Extreme Weather Response Shelters

Extreme Weather Response Shelters (EWRs) are shelter spaces that open during severe weather conditions that are deemed to present a substantial threat to the life or health of people who are homeless.

EWRs are open from November 1st to March 31st during extreme weather nights, as called by the City and the EWR response coordinator. 

There is one EWR location on the North Shore:

North Shore Housing Center
20 mats
705 West 2nd Street, North Vancouver | view on Google Maps
Phone: 604-982-9126


North Shore Solutions Navigators

The City has partnered with the North Shore Neighbourhood House to create a Solutions Navigator position to help those in need access community resources and support on the North Shore. The Navigators provide support to folks cycling out of poverty on matters ranging from housing, mental health, childcare, settlement services, and more.

Meeting with the Navigators is free and can take place in person, over video call, or over the phone, whichever works best for you. Learn more on their website at or check out the poster. To book an appointment, please email

North Shore Shelter

The Lookout Housing and Health Society provides 40 year round emergency shelter beds.

705 West 2nd Street
North Vancouver, BC, V7M 1E6
Phone: 604-982-9126

View location map and contact details for the North Shore Shelter.

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