Vancouver Office Building's Answer To Homelessness

The City of Vancouver in British Columbia is facing the homeless crisis, much like the rest of the world. Everyone thinks it’s easy to get into a shelter, but it’s not. Overnight, many of the homeless take refuge in the alcoves and doorways of Vancouver office towers. One such office building is the CF Pacific Centre, a downtown mall with 8 office and mixed-use towers above it that attract around 55,000 people a day. The size and location of Pacific Centre make it attractive to those looking for shelter outdoors, a place to warm up early in the morning and access to public washrooms. The security and cameras around the property offer some sense of protection. When Brent Findley (pictured above), Senior Manager of Security at Pacific Centre, started in the industry 25 years ago, he says the message to those surviving on the streets was typically to get out and off of a property. Today, he’s trying to help them. Individuals can sleep on the property overnight and use its facilities when it opens early in the morning. A 55-person security team has undergone training to deal with de-escalating confrontations, as well as first aid and mental health assistance, and night-shift employees conduct safety checks as well. Members have been advised to call the non-emergency policy number in the event of a difficult confrontation. Doing so gives the city’s Carnegie Outreach Program the opportunity to connect with individuals directly and offer support. “The problem is not going away,” said Findley. “It’s about getting people housed and getting them taken care of, reconnecting them to social services that are available for them.”