An artist's rendering of the planned Bill Reid Memorial Shelter.

Bill Reid Memorial Shelter on its way

Cloverdale will be the site of new homeless facility, which will include 16 shelter and 12 transition beds.

A new homeless shelter is on the way for Cloverdale.

The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society has kicked off a fund raising drive for the Bill Reid Memorial Shelter, which will include 16 shelter beds and 12 transition beds when complete.

The shelter has been planned for some time, but fundraising and the official name for the shelter were just unveiled this week.

The SHHS plans to raise $300,000 and will name the facility after the late Bill Reid.

Those funds are going toward a $4 million facility, paid for largely by B.C. Housing.

“This $300,000 is really showing the community’s commitment to the project,” said Surrey Coun. Vera LeFranc. She estimates the project is a year out before beginning the build. “I would think 2017, probably spring.”

There’s little question among people behind the project, that it should be named after Reid (pictured left), also known as “Mr. Cloverdale.”

He was an immense supporter of the project and the homeless in general.

Reid initially supported the creation of the existing 10-bed shelter south of Highway 10, near 176 Street. It is now unable to meet demand and the SHHS is planning to create the new space adjacent to the current building.

Unique features include the ability to bring animals to the facility.

Many homeless refuse to come in out of the cold because they can’t bring their dog with them.

Pets are hugely important to many homeless who struggle with social isolation. In some instances, their dog is their best friend.

The new home being built includes pet-friendly space, which will allow Options, which will operate the shelter, to help more individuals, and in a compassionate manner.

The shelter will also operate as a farm.

The idea is to provide a positive work experience to break the cycle they’ve fallen into and enjoy the feeling of contributing.

The shelter will provide volunteer opportunities using a  farming concept geared towards helping residents reestablish their life, work and social skills.

It’s hoped the gardening will provide benefits to those dealing with trauma, mental health issues or physical barriers.

Options plans to establish links with Kwantlen Polytechic University, and with local nurseries and greenhouses.

In the future, the farm may even generate revenue from gardening that can help offset operating costs and a portion of the food will be given to local food banks.

For more information or to donate, go to http://surreyhomeless.ca/bill-reid-memorial-shelter/

 

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