Surrey Introduces ‘Street Smart’ Pilot to Support People Experiencing Homelessness
The Surrey Street SMART program has been operating since September 2022 and involves Community Outreach Workers and Surrey Bylaw Enforcement Officers working together in City Centre to support community members experiencing homelessness and other complex challenges.
Surrey, B.C. - The City of Surrey is piloting an innovative new bylaw program to support people experiencing homelessness. The Surrey Street SMART program has been operating since September 2022 and involves Community Outreach Workers and Surrey Bylaw Enforcement Officers working together in City Centre to support community members experiencing homelessness and other complex challenges.
“This unique, proactive program is a first for Surrey and is part of a multi-faceted approach to give people a hand up to break the cycle of homelessness because every soul matters,” said Mayor Brenda Locke. “The SMART program has bylaw officers working in tandem with support agencies to connect people to services that will address a range of health, safety and housing issues. I would like to thank the Provincial and Federal governments for their funding contributions and for its support for this new Surrey initiative.”
A partnership between Surrey Bylaw and Lookout Housing and Health Society, the Street SMART program features three teams deployed daily from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., primarily in the City Centre area. The teams provide health services, shelter, supportive housing and sobering centre referrals, utilizing a trauma-informed approach that recognizes the ongoing impact of past trauma on people’s lives as well as their willingness and ability to receive help. The Street SMART program also involves a collaboration with Surrey Libraries that includes Community Outreach Workers providing daily support services on a walk-in basis at the City Centre Library from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
“Surrey’s new trauma-informed approach through the Street SMART pilot program will help better support community members experiencing homelessness and complex challenges in the City Centre,” said Bruce Ralston, MLA for Surrey-Whalley. “The Province is proud to support initiatives like Street SMART with local governments to keep our communities safe while helping people in need.”
To date, the program has facilitated over 2,000 referrals for social supports as well as providing essential supplies to people experiencing homelessness. The Street SMART teams also continue to facilitate the cleanliness and use of key public areas in City Centre to ensure access to services, businesses, and public space for the community.
The Street SMART pilot project makes referrals to the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART) for further support through a co-ordinated multi-agency response. Led by the City and established in 2015, SMART connects individuals with critical supports and intervenes when they demonstrate acutely elevated risk. Since inception, 60% of cases have been successfully concluded because the overall risks have been lowered and connections to services have been made. Learn more about the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table.