Homeless Count volunteer

Homeless Count

Homeless counts have taken place across the Metro Vancouver region every three years since 2002. The City of Vancouver started conducting an annual count in 2010. Each year, the count takes place throughout the city over a 24 hour period in March, inside shelters during the evening, and on the streets the next day.

Although counts do not give us a full picture of the extent of homelessness, the counts provide critical information on the number and characteristics of the homeless population, and how this population has changed over time.

Volunteers play a key role in homeless counts. Each year we recruit and train over 400 volunteers to participate in the count. This involves conducting a brief anonymous survey with people who are homeless.

Homelessness Services Association of BC  Homeless Count logo

The Homeless Count logo is provided by the Homelessness Services Association of BC (HSABC) . HSABC was established through a merger of GVSS and Shelter Net BC.

Its mandate is to strengthen and unify services across BC that are addressing the needs of persons experiencing homelessness. 

2020 Homeless Count

The 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver is an initiative of the Reaching Home Interim Community Entity, Vancity Community Foundation and Community Advisory Board (CAB).

The Homeless Count is delivered in partnership with the Indigenous Reaching Home Community Entity, the Indigenous Homelessness Steering Committee, the Council of Community Homelessness Tables, and is conducted by BC Non-Profit Housing Association.

What’s involved

  • Identifying and conducting a brief anonymous survey with people experiencing homelessness
  • Walking, biking or driving around a neighborhood looking for individuals to survey
  • Conducting a survey in various shelters across the region
  • Shifts will be 2 to 3 hours and volunteers are required to attend a 2-hour training session between February 10 and March 2.

 Volunteers will work in teams of two and must be 19 years of age or older.

Ideal volunteers 

While everyone is welcome to apply, to ensure the scientific integrity and a proper implementation of the Count we are looking for volunteers with specific skills and experience, such as:

  • Experience with previous homeless counts or professional or volunteer experience working with people experiencing homelessness
  • Compassion, acceptance, and comfort with one-on-one conversations with people on the street
  • A non-judgmental attitude and a good sense of humour

Apply to volunteer

We're currently recruiting qualified volunteers for the 2020 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver.

This year, the count will take place throughout the region on:

Tuesday, March 3 (evening)
Inside shelters

Wednesday, March 4, (day and evening)
On the streets

By volunteering, you're helping gather valuable information used by governments, service providers, community groups, and funders so they can plan for appropriate programs to address homelessness and measure progress in reducing homelessness.

Apply to volunteer and find out more 

2019 Homeless Count

Last year’s homeless count took place in shelters on March 12 evening and on the street on March 13 all day. Thank you to everyone who volunteered – we couldn’t have done the count without you.

The Homelessness Services department presented the results of the count to Vancouver City Council on June 12, 2019.

View the staff presentation (9 MB)

The 2019 count found:

  • 2,223 residents in Vancouver identified as homeless
  • 614 people were living on the street
  • 1,609 people were living in sheltered locations, including emergency shelters, detox centres, safe houses and hospitals, with no fixed address

Read the 2019 Homeless Count report (1.7 MB)

Have questions?