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Data Summary

Indigenous Homelessness in Surrey

Part 3: Data Summary


As part of the Finding Our Way Home project, available data on Indigenous homelessness was collected and analyzed. The findings from this research are summarized in this document. Data were obtained from BC Housing’s Research and Corporate Planning Department, the Reaching Home Community Entity for Metro Vancouver, and the City of Surrey.

The following represents key findings related to the experience of Individuals experiencing homelessness as reflected in the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver and 2018-2022 HIFIS shelter use data.

  • 141 Indigenous people were identified as experiencing homelessness in Surrey through the 2020 PiT Count. That is 31% of survey respondents. An average of 17% of all logged shelter stays between January 2018 and March 2022 were by people who identified as Indigenous. As a result, there is a smaller share of shelter users who are Indigenous than the PiT count would suggest. The discrepancy may be a result of the over-representation of Indigenous people who remain unsheltered as 50% of Indigenous, compared to 27% of non-Indigenous people were unsheltered in the PiT count in Surrey.
  • An additional 494 Indigenous individuals are estimated to have been hidden homeless during the PiT Count period, meaning they may be couch surfing or living in cars. This means a total of 635 Indigenous individuals are estimated to have been homeless in Surrey in 2020.
  • Between March 2020 and March 2022, an average of 536 Indigenous and non-Indigenous unique clients were registered at Year-Round (ESP, Temp) and Emergency Response Centre Shelters in Surrey on a monthly basis.
  • On average in the 2021-2022 winter season, 18% of Extreme Weather Response (EWR) shelter stays were by individuals who identified Indigenous. However, this varied dramatically between shelters, with 46% of women accessing the women’s only shelter identifying as Indigenous and only 3% of people accessing the Surrey Cloverdale shelter identifying as Indigenous. Data quality and differences in reporting may be a concern for some of the EWR shelters.
  • Age data for Indigenous people experiencing homelessness shows more younger and fewer older people than among non-Indigenous people. This is reflected in both the PiT data (13% Indigenous under 25 years vs. 5% non-Indigenous and 14% Indigenous over 55 vs. 29% non-Indigenous) and the shelter use data (9% Indigenous under 25 years vs. 7% non-Indigenous and 9% Indigenous over 55 vs. 26% non-Indigenous).
  • Of all women experiencing homelessness, 38% identified as Indigenous in the PiT Count while 26% of all men were Indigenous. The same can be observed in shelter stay data, where women who use shelters in Surrey were more likely to identify as Indigenous than men: 26% of shelter stays by women were by Indigenous women compared to men where 14% of all men were Indigenous. This is also observed among stays at Women’s Transition Houses where an average of 32% of stays were by women who are Indigenous during the study period.
  • According to the PiT Count, Indigenous people experiencing homelessness are more likely to identify as 2SLGBTQ2+ (17%) than non-Indigenous individuals (7%).
  • Indigenous individuals experiencing homelessness were more likely to be living with a learning disability or cognitive impairment (76% vs. 60%), as well as with addiction (54% vs. 44%), than nonIndigenous individuals.
  • The proportion of Indigenous individuals living with an acquired brain injury is higher (38%) than among non-Indigenous individuals (26%).
  • Indigenous people experience homelessness younger than non-Indigenous individuals, with 35% of Indigenous respondents to the PiT Count experiencing homelessness for the first time before they were 19 as compared to 23% of non-Indigenous respondents.
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All Our Relations: Honouring the Host Nations

SUILC recognizes that we operate on the unceded, ancestral, traditional and current territories of the Kwantlen, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Kwikwetlem, Qayqayt, and Tsawwassen First Nations.