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

2 years ago

Photos: Imgur and RainCity

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

Metal spikes outside London flats
Photo: Jamie Lorriman/The Guardian

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

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

These benches are intended for people to lean on, rather than sit… or sleep. (Photo: Nudges.wordpress)

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.

Homeless friendly benches (Photo:
Homeless friendly benches (Photo:
Photo: RainCity/Spring Advertising
Photo: RainCity/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.

TOP: The bench during the day. BOTTOM: The bed at night. (Photo:
TOP: The bench during the day.  BOTTOM: The bed at night. (Photo:

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.

If you’re passionate about ending homelessness, check out these other author-recommended stories:

PHOTOS: Spiked Sidewalks, Slanted Benches and Other Inhumane Homeless People ‘Repellents’

These Portraits of Homeless People Make a Powerful Statement About Humanity

VIDEO: Passersby React Surprisingly When Homeless People Are Replaced By Mannequins

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