Homelessness in Surrey
In 2014, the Metro Vancouver homeless count identified 404 homeless individuals in Surrey. Of these, 263 were sheltered and 140 were living on the streets.
This number is approximately the same as the 2008 and 2011 counts, despite a large increase in Surrey's overall population. This number is still too high. Due to the limitations of counting the Surrey homeless population, it is widely accepted as an undercount.
Surrey has the second largest homeless population in Metro Vancouver, accounting for 15% of the regional homeless population.
Source: Metro Vancouver Homeless Count, 2014
In order to address the current needs, Surrey needs more transition and supportive housing as well as more emergency shelter beds.
Master Plan for Housing the Homeless in Surrey
Adopted by Council in 2013, the Master Plan for Housing the Homeless in Surrey is the City's response to the need for long term housing and support services for individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The Master Plan focuses on the provision of additional supportive housing units, including the following priorities:
- Creation of an additional 450 units of transitional and supported housing for people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
- Replacement of the Gateway emergency shelter in Whalley with a new purpose-built facility that also incorporates transitional housing units.
- Enhancement of supportive housing, shelter and drop-in services that focus on vulnerable propulation groups with unique needs.
- Continuing to strengthen partnerships and collaboration with BC Housing, Fraser Health Authority, Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society, and other government funders and foundations.
Type of Social Housing
# of Units
# of Units
|Low-income rental housing||1,877||34%|
|Long-term supportive housing||163||3%|
|Transition / second stage||493||9%|
|Emergency shelter beds||165||3%|
Source: City of Surrey Planning and Development, 2016
- Do you donate to homeless people on the street - food, blankets, clothing? Re-create how you donate to increase the impact of your donations.
- Learn more about the homeless and vulnerably housed in Surrey by reading the Metro Vancouver 2014 Homeless Count Report and the The Homeless and the Vulnerably Housed in Surrey: Exploring Variations in Needs and Experiences, by David Lyon, Stephen Dooley, & Nathalie Gagnon.
In June 2007, Surrey City Council approved the creation of a new Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund. $9 million from the City’s Affordable Housing Reserves was used to establish the Fund. The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society oversees the fund, supporting Surrey-made solutions to homelessness and affordable housing issues in Surrey.
To date, the Society has contributed over $2.5 million to capital projects and programs that support homeless and at-risk Surrey residents. 55 projects with more than 50 partners have been supported, preventing over 500 individuals, including children, from homelessness.
Photo: Surrey Homeless and Housing Society Board members and staff, 2016.
Current City Actions and Partnerships: Shelters and Supportive Housing
We've used our influence and resources to partner with BC Housing and non-profit organizations in Surrey to address the need for more supportive housing and improved emergency shelter facilities.
Purpose-built shelter and transitional housing facility
In 2015, a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed with BC Housing and the City to build a purpose-built low-barrier facility with 40 to 50 shelter beds and 40 to 50 transitional housing units as well as spaces for health care, counselling and other services. The low-barrier facility will accommodate men and women who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness and may have active addictions and / or mental illness.
In May 2016, Council approved rezoning of a site on City-owned land in Whalley at 9900-140 St. and 14150 Green Timbers Way. The City is contributing the land and will waive all municipal development costs and fees. Read the Corporate Report.
Additional temporary shelter facilities
In response to the increase in the homeless population, the City has partnered with BC Housing to provide two temporary winter shelters.
The Boulevard Shelter opened as a temporary shelter in Whalley in 2015. Check out the the video below about the Boulevard Shelter to learn about the shelter's successes.
A new temporary shelter will open in Guildford in January 2017, in a building owned by the City. The shelter will be modelled after the successful Boulevard shelter. With these new facilities, the number of available shelter beds in Surrey has increased by 80. Learn more in the Corporate Report.
The City is also currently developing an Affordable Housing Strategy, with a focus on non-market and market rental housing, and entry-level home ownership
Completed City Actions and Partnerships: Shelters and Supportive Housing
In 2008, the City of Surrey signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with BC Housing to develop new supportive housing in Surrey. Our involvement is triggered by our priorities related to homelessness and affordable housing in Surrey.
To date, we've contributed the land and waived all development fees and charges for 3 MOU projects. These projects have created 152 units of supportive housing for women and children, men and women recovering from addictions, and individuals who are homeless or at risk of homelessness.
The three MOU projects are:
- Alder Gardens - A 36-unit supportive housing project in Newton for single women with dependent children, who are living in Surrey and are at-risk of homelessness or in core housing need. It is operated by the YWCA. Families began moving into Alder Gardens in late February 2012.
- Quibble Creek Health and Phoenix Transition Housing Centre - A health services and housing project for men and women recovering from addictions is located adjacent to Surrey Memorial Hospital. The facility accommodates an addictions and mental health clinic, a 25-bed sobering centre, Surrey Substance Use Services and outpatient counselling, 15 short-term recovery beds, and 52 transitional housing units.
- Timber Grove Apartments - Located in City Centre, Timber Grove welcomed its first residents in October 2011. It includes 52 studio apartment units for individuals who are homeless or at-risk-of-homelessness. This supportive housing project is operated by Coast Mental Health.
Under the terms of the partnership agreement with BC Housing, the City has committed to lease the sites at a nominal rate for 60 years, and to waive all municipal development costs and fees. In addition, the non-profit sponsors of the housing projects may apply on an annual basis for a property tax exemption. The City expedited the approval process for these much needed housing projects.
Capital and operating funding of the housing projects were arranged though BC Housing and other partners. The YWCA committed $1 million toward their project.
Council Reports on Housing and Homelessness
Read through reports that have gone to Council on isseus related to homelessness and housing
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