On a recent Thursday morning, the Vancouver Navigation Center was bustling. People were hanging out at tables inside and outside, watching television, waiting to take showers, doing laundry and nursing cups of coffee.
“We’re seeing more people than we originally expected,” said Jillian Daleiden, who manages the center, street outreach and Talkin’ Trash for homeless service provider Share.
Share reported that an average of 99 people visited the center daily between Dec. 1 and May 31, the first full six months it was in operation. Two years ago, when the city first proposed relocating the center from an industrial area in west Vancouver to 2018 Grand Blvd. in central Vancouver, estimated usage was projected at 50 people per day.
Daleiden surmises the nearly doubled number of visitors is due to a combination of the center’s location, access to public transportation, enhanced services — and an overall increase in homelessness.
At about 5,000 square feet, the center is more than four times the size of the warehouse space it used to occupy. It’s centrally located off Fourth Plain Boulevard along a bus rapid transit line.