Approximately 160 homeless individuals in Surrey will start moving into a new temporary homeless shelter today, the provincial government has announced.
“This is an opportunity to make a significant positive impact on the homelessness crisis in Surrey, and give people the chance to make lasting changes in their lives,” said provincial housing minister, Selina Robinson.
The government said that based on assessed need, people living along 135A Street will either be offered supportive housing at the temporary buildings that were announced in January, or shelter beds at one of several local shelters. The supportive housing is located at:
The 160 units of temporary housing will include secure, individual rooms, with private bathrooms.
Residents will have access to meal programs, counselling and medical offices, 24/7 staffing, and life and employment skills programming. Lookout Housing and Health Society will operate all three buildings.
Fraser Health and Lookout Society will also operate an intensive case management team at the temporary housing, to assist those facing significant challenges with health, mental health, substance use, poverty, education, and housing, by connecting them to support services and treatment.
Starting in 2019, the temporary housing will be replaced with 250 units of permanent modular housing as part of the Government of British Columbia’s Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program.
“This situation has been at a critical level for too long, and at last, housing is available for people who have had to endure the hardships and risks to personal health and safety that come with living without shelter,” said Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley.
The provincial housing effort is in partnership with the City of Surrey and Mayor Linda Hepner applauded the move.
“Council’s priority has always been to find long-term solutions to the homeless situation on 135A Street,” she said.