Beggars, homeless & junkies, Vancouver

30 Reviews

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  • Chinatown
    by Twan
  • Main & Hastings in the Downtown Eastside
    Main & Hastings in the Downtown Eastside
    by Carmanah
  • Beggars, homeless & junkies
    by vivacolombia
  • jamiesno's Profile Photo


    by jamiesno Written Jun 24, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Two Beggars in Vancouver

    Another local warning I would say, not really a danger but Vancouver has a lot of homeless beggars that parole the streets.

    They are just like beggars in any other city, nothing more special about these ones.

    They say the climate in Vancouver contributes to the problem they have. It is very mild on the west coast of Canada making it a lazy man's job I guess.

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    Homeless people

    by tkdqueen Written Feb 21, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Panhandlers, beggars, homeless - whatever you want to call them - they're a part of Vancouver life. Generally they'll ask for chaange and leave it at that but don't be surprised if a couple swear at you which did happen to just depends on your character how you deal with it. Ladies - just keep walking.

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  • I spent a week homeless in the downtown eastside

    by godspeasant Written Jan 5, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I slept in alleys, didn't shower, started with $0 dollars, and roamed the streets for a full week during Christmas time. From Dec 23-30 I ventured out main and hastings late at night trying to find a spot to sleep. I took a notebook with me and wrote about 120 pages of my entire experience. I am blogging about this whole thing now at All I can say is that it is not what people think it is. There are a lot of misunderstood, great, educated, intelligent, sincere, and warm people that are either homeless, or are just living in an extremely impoverished state. To those people that have never sat down and talked to anybody that is homeless, I would encourage you do to so with an open mind and an open heart. That way we can all progress in our society and move towards a better future for us all, whether one is rich or poor.

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    by bobsreturn2004 Written Nov 14, 2006

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    Already this is becoming my major problem in Vancouver.Homeless people.Now i have nothing against homeless people,however dont come up with a long winded story and say how nice i am.Three times in the last 2 hours i have had the following.I am from Oz,In prison,lost my daughter,going to get thrown out.Second one is I havent got enough money for parking(which i stupidly gave her),Thirdly im collecting for the Samaritans.Watch out for these usual suspects.

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  • Don't bother coming to Vancouver!

    by kenandre Written Jul 1, 2006

    3 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Vancouver is ugly and all of it's citizens live in deplorable conditions. The homeless (junkies, mentally ill and alcoholics) are just as well off as the working class. Most yuppies and professionals are more unpleasant to deal with than the bums. WARNING! Do not spend your money or your time in this city for any reason not even the olympics 2010. This is the most disgusting, disappointing and depressing place to live. Everything here is a facade! Stay out! I am working very hard to move away from this real hell on earth. Downtown Detroit and New York are safer.

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  • Downtown very scary

    by bigjohnstud Written Nov 7, 2011

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    This is not a very safe city, I think it is worse than people say. Yes Robson street is safe, and yes areas like the west end are safe. However, we saw violence, drunks and other dangers all over the city and not just in the east end!! Lots of wannabe gang members who are still as dangerous as real gangsters and a lot of dangerous mentally ill homeless people. Beware and think of carrying mace.

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  • shocking Vancouver

    by seanpb Written Sep 21, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    While Vancouver is undeniably pretty from a distance, up close it has become an appalling stew of junkies, beggars and scavengers that is unrivalled in the developed world. It is easily the most annoying and depressing city I know to walk around in. You will be hounded for money from one end of the city centre to the other, you will see countless drug deals taking place under the incompetent eyes of the local police, and you will see the full effects of failed drug policies. This city has the highest crime rate in North America, so don't ever, ever leave anything in your car or it will most certainly be broken into or stolen. I suggest you delay any planned visits until the city gets its act together, or you will be truly astonished by what you see.

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    by EGitan Written Jun 30, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness


    Becareful where you are, especially around China Town. Avoid going down Hastings street at all cost. It is dangerous and filled with junkies, and the mentally ill. Many purse has been stolen here...and many a car broken into. I was lucky to have someone warn me as i was walking toward the street.

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  • Homeless People

    by peach93 Written Jul 26, 2004

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Homeless Person Sleeping on Steps During Rally

    While I would not classify the homeless population in Vancouver as dangerous, there are quite a large number of them there owing to the City's mild year-round climate. Many of them will ask passersby for money, but don't feel that you must give them any. They are quite harmless.

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    I saw quite a few beggars in...

    by btex Written Aug 26, 2002

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    I saw quite a few beggars in downtown Vancouver. Some asked me to loan them a nickle or a dime so they could make a phone call; they shouldn't call it a loan because I'm sure they wouldn't pay it back. I guess asking for a dollar or two is too much, so they ask for dimes - they save up for a bottle of mad dog or whatever.

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  • watch out for the sandman

    by nixonp Written Dec 30, 2006

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    we arrived in Vancouver during the day and immedietely made our way to the East Hastings area to score some buds and seeds. during the day this area was pretty normal we scored some bc buds across from blunt brothers and come some hash then we went and ate crayfish heads in china town. by that time it was late so we found a hotel room but when we were unpacking our stuff another hotel room got raided by the swat team so we decided we would go chill back in east hastings when we got there it was a different feeling than before during the day. we started to look for a hash bar when we met this fellow called sandman he had tinfoil and a radio reciever on his head he was about five six and had long black hair he must have been native american but anyway he tried to rob us but we managed to evade him after he tried to get us to go down an alley way with him. Anyway lots of hookers mediocre bud and crazy mother f*$kers in that city \. ps if your reading this forum sandman f#@# you man next time well take your money homo.

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  • Lisser's Profile Photo

    Overall,Vancouver was a very...

    by Lisser Written Aug 25, 2002

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    Overall,Vancouver was a very safe city. Everyone is warned about the downtown eastside and it should probably be avoided. When in Gastown, don't go too far in either direction and you should be fine.
    I found the homeless people on the streets to be intimidating at first, but they're harmless. Giving them money is a personal choice, but if you refuse, they usually just leave you alone and move on.

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  • Carmanah's Profile Photo

    Aggressive panhandling (begging) in Vancouver

    by Carmanah Updated Feb 23, 2007

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Main & Hastings in the Downtown Eastside

    Vancouver, especially in recent years, has had an ongoing problem with aggressive panhandling. Aggressive meaning that beggars will approach people as opposed to simply sitting off to the side. It's a huge political topic in the city, but an issue that never seems to get solved.

    Some beggars are legitimately homeless. Some are hardcore drug addicts. Some are mentally ill, and some are just begging as a lifestyle choice.

    I've noticed, especially on travel forums, that unsuspecting (and often first-time) visitors to Vancouver are often scared by Vancouver's beggars. If they're not scared, they tend to assume that beggars are somehow dangerous, or that they signify a dangerous neighbourhood. This is not really the case.

    The beggars in Vancouver are just that. They are not armed robberers. They are not violent. They do not signify bad neighbourhoods. Most importantly, Vancouver's "bad" neighbourhoods, such as the Downtown Eastside, are not violent. They may have a lot of drug addiction and open air drug use, but they are not places of random violence, muggings, or gang warfare.

    Beggars are especially visible in downtown Vancouver, especially in areas of high pedestrian and/or tourist traffic. So even places with high end shops will eventually have beggars at one point during the day wandering around outside. Some begging hotspots include Water Street in Gastown, Granville Street, Davie Street, Robson Street, and Denman Street. Even neighbourhoods outside of downtown like Kitsilano and Commercial Drive have their fair share of beggars.

    If you look like a tourist, beggars are more likely to hassle you - especially in Gastown, and especially if you dress like you just stepped off a cruise from Alaska. Just tell them no. They will almost always leave you alone. There is no need to fear them. Keep your street smarts and don't feel you need to give away your money. And don't be surprised if you get asked over 5 times in one day for spare change. This is the unfortunate reality of 21st century Vancouver.

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  • MY "home" is no worse than YOUR "home" ;)

    by thereal_spuzzum Written Mar 18, 2011

    I live in Vancouver.. have for 44 years. It's my "home". All you bashers have no damn idea. This is the MOST expensive city in Canada, if not North America, and we get the LEAST minimum wage, and LEAST amount for social services, such as disabilty.. it hasn't risen in 10 YEARS! Do you have any idea what it's like to get $900 a month for disability, yet rents START at $600 to $700? Rents rose by 50% over the course of the Olympics. People lost there places to make room for tourists, who paid much more than the original tenants paid. And after the Olympics, the rents stayed just as high. I'm lucky that it's just me.. it would be worse if I was a single mother.

    Then there's the psychiatric hospitals and old folks homes, closed down to make way for condos. Where do you think they wound up?

    And for the people that unfortunately wound up on the streets because of this, the city built shelters.. to clean the streets before the "party" started. But 1 month after the Olympics ended, the city decides it can't "afford" to keep the shelters open.. everybody's back on the streets. Welfare only covers you for 3 months, or at least that used to be the rule, and they only get $525.. $375 for rent.. anything above, and it comes out of your support. .. Kraft Dinner's $2 a box! The very little they give you doesn't go very far.

    As for the beggers/aggressive panhandlers.. every big city has it, we're not alone. Ever been to Hawaii? Same thing. So's New York, Toronto, Seattle, "your city".

    As for the crack heads smoking in plain site.. yes it's sad, but it's society. In Amsterdam they're not doing anything illegal, not even if crack, yet here in Canada.. they're criminals, scum. Heck.. the biggest dealer's hangout is kitty-corner to the Vancouver Police Station.. in plain site. Yes, police do their rounds, but it doesn't stop.

    People need to step back and think for a moment.. "why" are these people in this situation in the first place? And "why" doesn't their government care?? .. It's criminal.

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  • lukevancity's Profile Photo

    Generally Safe Anytime; DT Eastside is an eyesore!

    by lukevancity Written Sep 8, 2011

    I've been living in Vancouver since 1991 and I have to say that I feel very safe in this city (at night or daytime). I've traveled to US and European cities, and compared to most of those, it is safe. I feel safe walking home at 3AM on Saturday morning from a bar, for example.

    Yes, Downtown Eastside (DTES) is an eyesore, an embarrassment, and a ghetto. But that's what it is, a ghetto, meaning that the junkies, dealers, and prostitutes are all congregated into several blocks on East Hastings, east of say Abbott street. If you don't wanna witness this, then just don't go there, but even if you did go there, nothing really bad would happened, except maybe being asked for money. I wont go into detail here why this place exists or why the cops don't do anything, but it's basically an eyesore, but not very unsafe.

    Regarding beggars, yes they exists maybe more than other Canadian cities, but you just have to be firm with them and say No and walk away and they leave you alone. Don't get into conversations with them, cause the all have a "believable" story to tell you.

    So to recap, Vancouver is a safe city, but is does have a beggar population, and an eyesore junkie ghetto that is the Downtown Eastside, which you can visit (better drive through) or not.

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