A new homeless shelter in Surrey is in the works, which will greatly expand services for those without housing.
The shelter – 40 beds, 30 transitional housing units and 30 permanent affordable apartments– would be located in the Surrey Memorial Hospital district and is expected to be up and running in 2018.
The new shelter will replace the existing 40-bed Gateway Shelter on 135A Street.
The new facility is partly the result of a merger between two large service providers in the Lower Mainland: Keys Housing and Health Solutions from Surrey and Vancouver’s Lookout Emergency Aid Society.
They will be adopting the Lookout name.
Shayne Williams is the executive director of Lookout and was formerly the head of Keys.
Williams said Surrey will still get great housing services, despite the fact the head office will be in Vancouver.
“The Lookout society has a history of working with communities and arriving at solutions tailor-made for each city,” Williams said. “We’ve done this with our North Shore Housing Centre and in New Westminster with the Cliff Block Housing Centre, the Russell Residence and Shelter and the Rhoda Kaellis Residence.”
The merger allows the new entity to bring services to where they’re needed, meeting the demands of a highly transient group of clients.
“Now we are also able to literally meet people where they live and supply them with the services they need,” Williams said.
The larger organization will also be able to take advantage of economies of scale, meaning it can do more with less money.
The merged society will serve five communities, including Vancouver (both the Downtown Eastside and Central Vancouver), Surrey, the North Shore, New Westminster and Burnaby.