Check Out Vancouver’s Clever Response to Other Cities’ Mean Homeless ‘Repellents’

This post was written by Alex Bauer and originally appeared on RYOT.

Recently, a London apartment building sparked outrage after they put metal spikes in an alcove to prevent homeless people from sleeping there.

These cruel spikes are just the latest in homeless deterrents, as many cities have already redesigned benches to prohibit sleeping.

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons

Some benches have been shortened to deter sleepers; others have had arm rests added to keep people from laying down on them.

In lieu of the heavy criticism the London apartment is getting online — along with these other horrific homeless “repellents” — the Canadian city of Vancouver has thought of a creative and positive response: Shelter benches.

RainCity Housing, a grassroots organization that provides housing and accommodation for the homeless in Vancouver, has created benches throughout the city with roofs over them. The design serves two purposes — by day the roof acts as a backrest for tired walkers, and at night it folds out, creating a shelter for those in need of a dry place to sleep.

Credit: Spring Advertising

Vancouver creative agency Spring Advertising added an even more unique design to the benches. During the day, UV letters react to the sunlight and the bench reads: “This is a bench.” At night, the letters glow in the dark to say: “This is a bedroom. A place to call home should actually be one.”

It also directs people to the RainCity website.

Credit: Spring Advertising

So far, there are only a handful of these benches around Vancouver, but we hope they keep adding more — and that other cities follow their lead.

And while they’re not a permanent solution for the homeless community, it’s a step in the right direction toward treating homeless people like what they actually are: people.

Photo Credit: Thinkstock


Jennifer H.
Jennifer H3 years ago

Finally someone doing something to help the homeless. I am impressed and hope the project continues to grow and more cities follow.

Angela Roquemore
Angela Roquemore3 years ago

Jesus would approve.

Janet B.
Janet B3 years ago


Jane C.
Jane C3 years ago

Go Vancouver!

Deborah W.
Deborah W3 years ago

If both Teri P's post at 9:05 am PDT on July 13, 2014 AND Liessi H's post at 6:57 pm PDT on July 14, 2014 are true, reinforces the premise of READING BEYOND THE HEADLINES DESIGNED TO PULL YOU IN and getting to truth, doesn't it?

Tracy Ferguson
Tracy Ferguson3 years ago

There were so many comments thanking Canada and praising them. I read all the comments. I only saw about four including mine that spoke out about the problems having the homeless around cause. I wonder if all the pro-Canada people had to deal with the problems associated with the homeless on a daily or nightly basis how they would respond to the article. Also I am surprised at the hostility Laura A showed to Carol P just for having a different view on the topic. You are calling someone a loser and lazy just because they realize the challenges of actually dealing with this issue. Again I wonder if Laura A had some not so warm and fuzzy encounters day or night with the homeless she would feel the same. But did you at least read the comments written about the problems dealing with the homeless. How long do you think people will keep attending Gene's church if the homeless are going to the bathroom in public? Are you saying Tom has no property rights because he bought a place downtown. Because I have news for you, Laura. You said we could all become homeless. Well I don't live downtown and I have them walking down my suburban street and my roommate works at the residence, which is not aloud to retain them, they come from and they are dangerous. So it could be your neighborhood they come to next. You can take them all in and be all warm and fuzzy. Everyone wants everybody to be compassionate and take care of the homeless. They want the government to do it well it all costs money a

D C.
D C3 years ago

Great. Thank you.

Sue Matheson
Sue Matheson3 years ago


'Great White' Earth-Being
'Great White' 3 years ago


'Great White' Earth-Being
'Great White' 3 years ago

WOW, if a place in Canada (not exactly Democratic Socialist country; pretty conservative- just The USA makes them seem left) does this, all countries could easily find the commitment for this.