Why some Vancouverites are living out of their vehicles
Priced out of buying or renting traditional homes, some Vancouver residents are taking to living in vehicles on city streets.
Unlike people living in RVs or campers intended for human habitation, though, some of these people are finding themselves even more modest circumstances.
“A lot of people are living in minivans or cars,” newly elected city councillor Pete Fry told CTV Vancouver.
As Fry sees it, living out of a personal vehicle comes with “all sorts of risks,” including carbon monoxide poisoning. Other issues include concerns about vehicles staying in one place longer than the city’s three-hour street parking limit or being moved while uninsured.
When it comes to larger RVs being lived in, the city has also received complaints about sewage being dumped on public land. Fry said there are also positive impacts, such as people cleaning up parks while staying there and keeping a watchful eye on their temporary new communities.
One man, who gave his name as Darryl, told CTV Vancouver that he started living out of a minivan when he was evicted from his apartment after losing his job.
“I’m just trying to make do best I can until I can get back to Ontario,” he said.
“I just need to get my van fixed and get there.”
Darryl said he hoped to find cheaper housing in Ontario than he could in Vancouver, which he described as having “too many people coming over [and] not enough houses.”
“This Earth can only stand so many people in one city. That’s the problem,” he said.
Fry says he has visited U.S. cities which have dealt with the same problem by creating “safe lots” – an idea which he would like to see replicated in Vancouver.
“They’re parking lots where people can park – people who have nowhere else to go – and they can park there and they can have access to toilets, running water, showers, outreach services,” he said.
Another city councillor, Melissa De Genova, said she sympathizes with the situations of many of the people who have ended up living in their vehicles.
“Some of them go to work and are trying very hard to just be able to sustain themselves and their lives,” she said.
With a report from CTV Vancouver’s Emad Agahi