A twenty-year-old Ukrainian refugee expressed shock and fear upon witnessing the homeless crisis in Vancouver, Canada.
Andrian Makhnachov arrived in Saskatchewan in May 2022 as a refugee escaping his home country’s war with Russia.
The influencer’s Tiktok account has 352,000 followers, where he’s been highlighting his Canadian experiences such as grocery shopping, trying out Canadian snacks, and exploring cities.
After posting a video on August 15 claiming there are no homeless people in Vancouver, responses quickly came in, urging Makhnachov to check out East Hastings Street.
“I thought it was a line for a concert,” he later posted while walking through one of the poorest and most drug-affected neighborhoods in North America.
“I was speechless when I realized what was happening here.”
He added, “I just wanted to start running, screaming and crying.”
Makhnachov’s video has nearly 300,000 views since posting it two weeks ago.
Many Ukrainian refugees are reportedly choosing to return to their war-torn country instead of staying in Canada due to various reasons, including the high cost of living.
East Hastings Street
Many of the homeless individuals on East Hastings Street suffer from mental health problems and are addicted to illicit drugs.
In April, city workers and police removed about 80 tents and temporary shelters along the street, and offered homeless shelter spaces to individuals affected. Some accepted and went to shelters, but many people later returned to the encampment.
It was the city’s most recent attempt of many in the past few years to deal with the drug and homeless crisis.
Last year, Vancouver Fire Chief Karen Fry said every attempt has been mostly unproductive.
“What we are seeing is more tents come down, and more tents go up, and it’s not getting any better,” she said.
“It is a matter of time before more lives are lost.”
Rent is at an all time high in Canada. Last month, the average asking price for a one bedroom apartment was $1,860 a month, and $2,296 for a two-bedroom. July’s rent prices represent a 8.9% increase from 2022.