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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.
15% of Surrey's rental housing is non-market social housing.

Type of Social Housing

# of Units

# of Units

 Aboriginal  155  3%
 Co-operative housing  875  16%
 Low-income rental housing  1,877  34%
 Low-income seniors  1,760  32%
 Long-term supportive housing  163  3%
 Transition / second stage  493  9%
 Emergency shelter beds  165  3%
 Total  5, 488  100%

Source: City of Surrey Planning and Development, 2016

Get Involved

Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund

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.

Surrey Homeless and Housing Society Board members and staff, 2016.

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

Council Reports Date                
Proposed Winter Shelter at 14716-104 Avenue Oct. 19, 2016
Update on Activities Surrounding Homelessness and Addictions in City Centre Sept. 27, 2016
Regional Affordable Housing Strategy Aug. 15, 2016
Renewal of Lease of 10677 Whalley Boulevard for a 2016 / 2017 Winter Shelter March 2, 2016
Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society – 2016 Annual General Meeting June 3, 2016
Draft Regional Affordable Housing Strategy Update Feb. 1, 2016
Memorandum of Understanding between the City of Surrey and BC Housing Management Commission - Low Barrier and Transitional Housing Facility Sept. 14, 2015
Community Action Initiative on Supportive Recovery Homes May 25, 2015
Partnership with the Province of BC on the Development of a New Purpose-Built Shelter and Transitional Housing Facility Feb. 3, 2014
Phoenix Society: Rising Sun Social Innovation Centre and Gallery Nov. 5, 2013
FCM National Housing Campaign - "Fixing Canada's Housing Crunch" Nov. 12, 2013
Master Plan for Housing the Homeless in Surrey July 8, 2013
Master Plan for Housing the Homeless in Surrey Jan. 28, 2013
Winter Shelter for Surrey - BC Housing Sept. 10, 2012
Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society - 2012 Annual General Meeting  May 28, 2012
Surrey Rental Premises Standards of Maintenance By-law May 28, 2012
Housing Action Plan - Development of a Master Plan for Housing the Homeless in Surrey  June 27, 2011
Secondary Suites ‐ By-law Amendments and Policies Nov. 15, 2010
Public Opinion Survey Results and Policy Direction on Secondary Suites July 26, 2010
Public Opinion Survey Regarding Secondary Suites June 7, 2010
Update on the Development of a Housing Action Plan Dec. 14, 2009
Summary of a Study Related to Refugee Housing in Surrey – “At Home in Surrey? The Housing Experiences of Refugees in Surrey, BC” June 29, 2009
Terms of Reference for the Development of a Housing Action Plan Mar. 9, 2009
Metro Vancouver Draft Regional Affordable Housing Strategy Oct. 1, 2007

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