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Homelessness in Surrey


In 2017, the Metro Vancouver homeless count identified 602 homeless individuals in Surrey. Of these, 399 were sheltered and 203 were living on the streets.

Homelessness is on the rise across the region, rising 30% in Metro Vancouver from 2017 - 2017. In Surrey, homelessness increased 49% during the same period. 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 17% of the regional homeless population.

Source: 2017 Homeless Count in Metro Vancouver, September 2017 

Aboriginal people are over-represented in the homeless population across the region, including Surrey. The Aboriginal Homelessness 2017 Count in Metro Vancouver report attribues the causes of Aboriginal homelessness to a range of barriers facing the Indigenous population, such as poverty, racism and intergenerational trauma.

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 $2.8 million to capital projects and programs that support homeless and at-risk Surrey residents.  More than 100 partners have been supported, with over 1000 helped through support services.

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.

Shelter and housing projects in planning / development

  • Green Timbers Shelter: 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 City is contributing the land and will waive all municipal development costs and fees. Read the Corporate Report.
  • Options’ “Bill Reid” Shelter in Cloverdale: will provide 16 shelter beds and 12 transitional housing units.

Additional temporary shelter facilities

In response to the increase in the homeless population, the City has partnered with BC Housing to provide three temporary shelters.

  • The Boulevard Shelter in City Centre: 40 beds
  • The Guildford Shelter in Guildford: 40 beds
  • The Parkway Shelter in City Centre: 40 beds
  • Temporary shelters are open 24 hrs / day, 7 days / week. Clients are provided meals and connection to services. The goal is to transition clients to permanent housing.

Check out the the video below about the Boulevard Shelter to learn about the shelter's successes. Read more about the Guildford Shelter in the Corporate Report.

Affordable Housing

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 issues related to homelessness and housing

Council Reports Date                
Operation of Temporary Shelters Opened in 2017 Sept. 28, 2017
Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society - 2017 Annual General Meeting May 29, 2017
Renewal of Lease of 10677 Whalley Boulevard for Continuation of Boulevard Homeless Shelter Feb. 15, 2017
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
City of Surrey Economic Investment Action Plan (amendments to Interim Bonus Density Policy No. O-54) April 20, 2009
Terms of Reference for the Development of a Housing Action Plan Mar. 9, 2009
Density Bonus Reserve Fund July 28, 2008
Revisions to the Interim Bonus Density Policy No. O-54 for the City Centre and Guildford Town Centre Areas Feb. 25, 2008
Metro Vancouver Draft Regional Affordable Housing Strategy Oct. 1, 2007
Interim Bonus Density Policy Oct. 1, 2007

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