The Province of British Columbia and the City of Surrey have partnered to respond to an urgent need for housing assistance in the community.
As of June 19, 2018, approximately 160 individuals experiencing homelessness will be offered housing, as well as health and social supports.
“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 Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “That change starts with housing that includes the support services people need to stabilize their lives, and move on to more permanent housing.”
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:
- 10662 King George Blvd.
- 13550 105 Ave.
- 13425 107A Ave.
The housing offered will take those currently living on the street into a proper shelter or supportive living environment. Staff will be available, if needed, to help in the packing and transporting of belongings, and transportation of individuals, to the new housing.
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. The Province and the city are currently working together to identify sites for these new homes.
Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley –
“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. We want to help grow healthy communities, and I believe that only happens when housing is available to everyone.”
Linda Hepner, mayor, City of Surrey –
“Council’s priority has always been to find long-term solutions to the homeless situation on 135A Street. With the new accommodations available, we are now able to offer those living in deplorable conditions on a sidewalk suitable housing that will have the necessary health and social supports. In essence, we are restoring dignity to these individuals by offering them proper shelter and care.”
Shayne Williams, executive director, Lookout Society –
“Lookout Housing and Health Society is excited to operate the 160 temporary accommodation units, in partnership with BC Housing and Fraser Health, for Surrey’s most vulnerable community members. Between 2014 and 2017, homelessness in Surrey increased by a third, from 403 to 602 individuals. The need for alternative housing in Surrey is more prevalent than ever. Lookout is looking forward to operating an intensive case management team to provide a range of health services, in addition to housing, to ensure long-term success and wellness.”
Dr. Victoria Lee, chief medical health officer, Fraser Health –
“A person should be able to access effective and responsive services and supports, regardless of where he or she is in the process of recovery from addiction, mental illness, or both. Intensive case management teams work with the most vulnerable people, with severe substance-use disorders, to afford them the right to live, work, learn and participate fully in the community. Managing day-to-day activities, such as banking and grocery shopping, is often taken for granted, but they are important steps in successfully engaging in care, regaining independence and contributing to the community.”
- The Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program was launched in September 2017, with a provincial investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C., and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services.
- To date, more than 1,700 new homes for people most in need are in development in 19 communities throughout the province.
- Budget 2018 provides further supports for people experiencing homelessness, with funding for an additional 2,500 new units of supportive housing and support services.
- The Province will be working with people with lived experience, local governments and community partners to develop a homelessness action plan, to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
- The Province invested $550,000 to fund homeless counts in up to 12 communities, during March and April 2018, to help inform B.C.’s homelessness action plan. Preliminary results from the account are expected to be released in the early summer 2018.
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
A backgrounder follows.