Plummeting vacancy rates and soaring rent costs for Niagara apartments appear to be driving up both the number of homeless people and the length of time that homeless people are forced to stay in shelters, the second count of homelessness in Niagara shows.

Two years after the first-ever point-in-time homelessness count in Niagara, the number of homeless appears to have climbed in the region.

In turn, shelters for those without a place to call home are bursting at the seams, information from the count suggests.