A past extreme weather response shelter set up for women inside Surrey’s Nightshift Street Ministries. (Photo: Chris Paul/nightshiftministries.org)

Surrey councillor says more extreme weather shelter beds to open in the city

Brenda Locke says the beds should be open through the weekend

Despite a challenge in getting extreme weather shelter beds up and running in north Surrey, a city councillor says more will be opening up Friday evening (Dec. 7).

Brenda Locke said more beds will be opening up in north Surrey tonight.

With the opening of more shelter beds this weekend, Locke said the city is “better prepared.”

“We were challenged in getting beds up and running, especially in north Surrey,” Locke told the Now-Leader Friday afternoon.

Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) executive director Michael Musgrove said 16 additional beds will be opening up at Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre through SUMS. He said he found out around 11 a.m. Friday about the additional beds.

A tweet from Homelessness Services Association of BC says there will be shelters in north Surrey, Cloverdale and South Surrey White Rock.

Extreme weather beds are located at: Pacific Community Resources Society (10 youth beds, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.); Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre (16 beds, 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.); Phoenix Drug and Alcohol Recovery Centre (9 beds for men only, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.); Peninsula United Church (25 beds, 9 p.m. 7 a.m.); Pacific Community Church (25 beds, 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.); and NightShift Street Ministries (15 beds for women only, 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.).

The Extreme Weather Response program, according to the Homelessness Services Association of BC, is a provincially funded initiative that “supports community-based serves to provide additional temporary emergency shelter spaces during periods of extreme winter weather which threaten the health and safety of individuals experiencing homelessness.”

The program officially runs Nov. 1 to March 31, but there can sometimes be calls to open in October.

For a continuously updated list of shelters, visit shelters.bc211.ca/bc211shelters.

Musgrove said while more beds are needed, the addition 16 are appreciated “immensely.”

“It’ll help, that’s for sure,” Musgrove said.

Locke said the beds should be open until Monday “for sure,” but the weather is expected to warm up by the end of the weekend.

“We’ve upped those numbers quite a bit in north Surrey in the last 24 hours, so I’m very happy about that,” she said. “It’s been very cold and we really want to make sure those people on the street, at least, can get in if they choose to. They don’t all choose to, by the way. That’s the challenge, but if they choose to come in, there is going to be places for them.”

Environment Canada issued a special weather statement Thursday (Dec. 6), warning of a chance of flurries and the possibility of freezing rain in the Lower Mainland late Friday.

RELATED: Flurries and slight risk of freezing rain for Lower Mainland: Environment Canada

Musgrove said SUMS is operating as a warming centre during the day, but he said the society is full every night.

He said the cold spell “looks like it’s ending soon or at least diminishing.”

“As soon as it (the weather) is above zero, we look at that as ending, but it’s just diminishing, I guess.”

But then the rain starts, Musgrove said.

“I’d rather be outside in minus-4 and cold than one degree and raining.”

At the end of November, Surrey’s extreme weather response co-ordinator told the Now-Leader that there was a shortfall of extreme weather beds in north Surrey.

Jonquil Hallgate said at the time she was waiting for the Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre Association to open with 18 spaces. By the end of November, she said there were about 20 spaces split between Pacific Community Resource Centre and NightShift Street Ministries.

READ ALSO: Shortfall of extreme weather beds for homeless in north Surrey

Hallgate said the problem was many former locations for extreme weather shelters have become temporary or permanent spaces, after the closure of 135A Street to tents, meaning those venues are not available for the extreme weather program anymore.

– With files from Amy Reid



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Sven Spichiger, Washington State Department of Agriculture managing entomologist, displays a canister of Asian giant hornets vacuumed from a nest in a tree behind him Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. Scientists in Washington state discovered the first nest earlier in the week of so-called murder hornets in the United States and worked to wipe it out Saturday morning to protect native honeybees. Workers with the state Agriculture Department spent weeks searching, trapping and using dental floss to tie tracking devices to Asian giant hornets, which can deliver painful stings to people and spit venom but are the biggest threat to honeybees that farmers depend on to pollinate crops. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Crews vacuum ‘murder hornets’ out of Washington nest, first-ever in U.S.

The nest found in the city of Blaine near the Canadian border is about the size of a basketball

Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Pretrial in Newton. (Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Staff members at Surrey Pretrial test positive for COVID-19

Ministry of Public Safety says employees tested positive between Oct. 18 and 23

(Image: CDC)
Fraser Health orders Surrey food-processing facility to close amid COVID-19 outbreak

Staff member at Surrey long-term care facility also tests positive for the virus

A reminder to students at Surrey’s Strawberry Hill Elementary to physically distance during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Five Surrey schools reporting COVID-19 exposures, including another at Panorama Ridge

INTERACTIVE TABLE: Search for schools, organize by exposure dates

Upgrades underway at the Sunnyside Reservoir, adjacent to Sunnyside Acres Urban Forest, raised concerns among some residents Tuesday (Oct. 20), however, stewards of the park say everything went off without a hitch. (Tracy Holmes photo)
‘No issue’ with South Surrey reservoir drainage, despite trail user concerns: urban forest steward

Forest visitor taken aback by ‘unprecedented flooding’ of trails

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

BC Hydro map showing where power has been knocked out is dotted with over a dozen outages. (BC Hydro map screenshot)
Thousands without power in Lower Mainland on election day

One outage in Langley and Surrey is affecting over 4,000 customers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

file
One dead after fiery crash near Agassiz

Agassiz RCMP report a 56-year-old man died Friday night

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read