For many in Surrey, life is feeling a lot more expensive these days; inflated costs for groceries, gas and many other necessities are putting extra strain on our wallets, and extra stress on our relationships. Add in the high cost and low supply of housing, and the prospect of homelessness can feel more immediate than ever.
“Understanding the structural issues and larger context of homelessness, along with individual stories, helps pave a path to home – providing the housing and supports people need to thrive and live a full life,” says Nancy Melo from the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society. “Having access to safe and secure housing provides an opportunity for stability, opportunity and wellness.”
It’s not just income and employability that put people at risk. Mental illness, addiction and domestic violence can also lead to homelessness.
The need is great, but custom, flexible and innovative solutions are helping make a real difference. In 2007, Surrey City Council allocated a $9 million endowment to start the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society. That money, alongside donations from schools, families, community-based organizations, businesses and individuals, has helped the Society support Paths to Home in Surrey.
Homelessness Action Week Oct. 9-16
Every October, communities across Metro Vancouver recognize Homelessness Action Week — an opportunity to get involved, spread the word and raise awareness about this important issue.
“Everyone deserves stable housing — it’s the foundation that helps people move forward, helping bring physical and mental wellness and access to other opportunities like education or employment,” Melo says.
How the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society makes a difference
- Grow: Every year, the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society launches a major fund development campaign on Giving Tuesday (Nov. 29 this year). All money raised goes towards working to prevent homelessness right here in Surrey. Funds are kindly managed by the Vancity Community Foundation.
- Grant: Since 2007, the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society has granted over $10 million to Surrey-based organizations and non-profits, helping them provide housing, outreach programs, accessible health care, community kitchens and shelters. They also have a responsive grant program specifically for emergency situations like COVID-19.
- Lead: Long-term solutions take leadership, so the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society engages with the public sector to develop policies and implement strategies that have a positive impact in Surrey.
To find out how to get involved, or to donate to the Paths to Hope campaign, visit surreyhomeless.ca/give.
Facing barriers such as mental illness, addiction, low employability and domestic violence