What does it say about our city that homeless people are climbing into clothing bins for refuge? This speaks to a social issue across the Lower Mainland. According to the 2017 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count, 1,032 people identified themselves as part of the unsheltered homeless which means they live outside and/or stay temporarily with others and use homelessness services. The study also found that homelessness in Metro Vancouver had increased 30% from 2014 to 2017. As rent prices soar and minimum wage stays low, more and more people are finding themselves part of the homeless population. It is clear that we need more affordable housing, shelters, better living wages, and more social programming for those trying to get back on their feet.
Our clothing bins support our programs and services so that we can keep them free for our members with disabilities, who often live in poverty. We fund individual and group peer support, recreation and social connection programs, and financial aid subsidies. Clothing recycling also reduces waste which helps the environment and creates a more sustainable city. Without the bins, we would not be able to help as many people as we have.
We work with our partners to arrange regular pick-ups and to make sure the space around the bin is kept tidy. Our bins are theft and fire-proof. We offer smaller bins for those wanting to host a bin indoors.
Clothing bins help us create Life Without Limits for people living with cerebral palsy and other disabilities.