A Surrey city councillor says there will be open and transparent consultation with the Guildford community after province announced a proposed site for a supportive housing project.
The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced June 5 the proposed site for the permanent project, which would have 60 “safe and secure homes for people experiencing homelessness.” The site is located at 14706 104th Ave.
Going forward, Councillor Brenda Locke said the city, BC Housing and the province will be consulting “openly and transparently” with the Guildford community.
“I know there is always a little bit of angst in a community when something new comes in and so we definitely will be talking to the community and letting them know.”
Shayne Williams, Lookout CEO, said the society is “really eager” to support more people in Guildford and “help people transition out of our current shelter and move into more permanent homes where they can continue their journey back to wellness.”
With Lookout already operating a shelter next door for the past two years, Williams said the society has built “strong relationships with residents and businesses.
“I think that once folks understand what we intend to do and that this is going to be homes for folks that are already in the community, I think that it’s going to go alright.”
Williams said they’ve already going out into the community to let people know more about the proposal. He said it’s been “well-received so far.”
There will be a public information session on June 20 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Sheraton Guildford in the Fraser Room. The ministry said project partners will be on hand to answer questions and people will have an opportunity to view preliminary building design drawings.
“I think some of the fear usually comes from folks not knowing, so having these conversations and letting people ask questions, I think, is going to be a really good process in terms of informing the overall community and getting the support that’s necessary for the rezoning,” Williams said.
The supportive housing projects are part of the province’s commitment to deliver 250 supportive homes, in partnership with the city
“In order to replace what we have when we lose the modulars, we need 160,” Locke said.
With the announcement, Locke said the city is “on track” for getting the kind of housing needed for Surrey, “especially to replace the trailers we have now.”
“The need for supportive and social housing at all levels in Surrey is really underserved, so we have a lot of work to do,” Locke said. “In terms of the immediate need, we are on track to replacing those trailers, absolutely.”
As for the sites of the current modulars, Locke said all three sites have had lease extensions.
“They’re not long extensions, they’re modest one-year extensions. That gives us that sort of wiggle room time to get out there, talk to the communities where new mods are going and give time for building and so on.”
The province also announced in February the plans for a proposed supportive housing project in Whalley, which would have 38 permanent homes for those struggling with homelessness.
To find out more about the two proposed sites, visit letstalkhousingbc.ca/surrey.