VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Homeless youth and families need more help. That’s the call coming from organizers of the 2011 Homeless Count, who released their final numbers today.

The number of homeless people is essentially unchanged from the last count in 2008. More than 2,600 people are homeless, but children now represent a greater portion of that number.

Alice Sundberg with the Homeless Count Steering Committee says many of these youths are wards of the state who have left foster care.

“Total of 397 unaccompanied youth, which is a nine per cent increase from 2008,” explains Sundberg. “We are not happy about that. We need to do some work that focuses on addressing youth homelessness as well.”

The report also found Aboriginal people comprise about two per cent of the general population but remain overrepresented at 27 per cent of homeless people.

In almost all cases, homelessness resulted in part from a lack of affordable housing, income security or support services. Sundberg tells News1130 new supportive housing has helped to stabilize the homeless population, but most of those units are for single occupants and families need more affordable housing options. 

Sundberg is calling on the Ministry of Children and Families to act on this issue.