Abbotsford unhoused community doubles during pandemic: church charity

A black, white and red poster for 5 and 2 Ministries. There is a large white star at the centre that is surrounded by a white wreath. The logo is on a black background and there is red font lettering.
Homelessness in the Fraser Valley may have doubled over the pandemic years, according to 5 and 2 Ministries, a local church and charity. Photo courtesy of 5 and 2 Ministries' Facebook page.
Surjit Atwal - CIVL - AbbotsfordBC | 09-11-2022
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print
Homelessness has increased in the Fraser Valley during the pandemic according to an Abbotsford church that works in the community. 
In 2020, the Fraser Valley Regional District Homeless Count reported that there were 333 individuals experiencing homelessness or underhousing. Today, that number could be closer to 700, says Ward Draper, executive director of the 5 and 2 Ministries.
The 5 and 2 is a church and advocacy group that has worked with under-housed populations in the Fraser Valley for 20 years. Draper says he is getting exhausted by the lack of government progress on finding solutions.
"I was out by one spot the other day where a  homeless encampment is, probably in a neighborhood of 35 to 50 people just living in their cars in a distance of about one and a half city blocks.” Draper says. "There are four locations in Abbotsford alone that immediately come to mind where the population is 35-50 and above the same distance about a block-and-a-half."

While the circumstances of people struggling to access housing in Abbotsford are growing more dire as time goes on, the solutions from the government, Draper says, are the same: sweeping folks out of one area, and simply moving them to another.

For the full interview with Ward Draper, listen below: