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Province commits $1M to keep Surrey winter shelter open year-round

The shelter, at 10677 Whalley Blvd., is now set to stay open until April 30, 2017
Shayne Williams

WHALLEY — The province has invested nearly $1 million to keep Surrey’s winter shelter running all year long.

The shelter, at 10677 Whalley Blvd., is now set to stay open until April 30, 2017.

The $960,000 committed Tuesday is in addition to the $400,000 the province funded for the shelter to operate this winter. The additional funding will mean outreach workers can keep working beyond the winter months.

It’s something Surrey City Council asked for last month.

SEE MORE: Surrey looks to make winter shelter operational all year

“For me it just makes sense. It’s been a huge success,” Coun. Vera LeFranc said at the time. “We are short of shelter beds in Surrey and an expansion of 40 beds is wonderful. It’s proven that it really works.”

Since the 40-bed shelter opened in December more than 35 people have transitioned into permanent housing.

Unlike emergency and extreme weather shelters, this one operates 24 hours a day, allowing its residents to stay inside and not be kicked out at 7 a.m. to wander the streets.

SEE ALSO: Tent city tension: Crackdown leaves Surrey homeless feeling like 'garbage'

Shayne Williams, executive director of Lookout Emergency Aid Society which runs the shelter, said the shelter is a “last resort for many individuals who are unable to find housing so we are thrilled the province is extending funding.”

Mayor Linda Hepner thanked the province.

“The City of Surrey is glad that we can work in close collaboration with the B.C. government to bring positive solutions to help the housing needs of the vulnerable. I would like to extend my thanks to the province for extending this funding that directly supports those who need assistance most in our community,” she said.

The B.C. government also funds 111 year-round homeless shelter spaces in Surrey as well as approximately 60 shelter spaces that are available during extreme weather.