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

Just Posted

VIDEO: Hundreds of volunteers collect, wrap toys in Surrey at Sikh elementary school

Guru Nanak Free Kitchen, Sikh Academy partner together on annual toy drive

Road safety plan in the works for Surrey

Council to consider hosting ‘Vision Zero’ summit in new year

City of Surrey looks to reduce building permit wait times

Staff targeting a 10-week average processing time

Surrey considers 75% discount on senior rec passes, drop-in admission

Council to vote Monday on proposal to deeply discount rates for residents over 70

‘A promise is a promise’: Cloverdale lantern festival opens, two months late

After months of delays due to permit issues and uncooperative weather, Art of Lights finally opens

MAP: Christmas light displays in Surrey, Langley and beyond

Send us pictures of your National Lampoon-style lit-up homes, nativity scenes or North Pole playlands

Boeser has 2 points as Canucks ground Flyers 5-1

WATCH: Vancouver has little trouble with slumping Philly side

Man dies after falling from B.C. bridge

Intoxicated man climbed railing, lost his balance and fell into the water below

Hundreds attend Hells Angels funeral in Maple Ridge

Body of Chad John Wilson found last month face-down under the Golden Ears Bridge.

B.C. animation team the ‘heart’ of new ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’

The animators, largely based in Vancouver, ultimately came up with a creative technique that is drawing praise

Light at the end of the tunnel for UN climate talks

Meeting in Katowice was meant to finalize how countries report their emissions of greenhouses gases

Gas prices to climb 11 cents overnight in Lower Mainland

Hike of 17 cents in less than 48 hours due to unexpected shutdown of Washington state pipeline

Janet Jackson, Def Leppard, Nicks join Rock Hall of Fame

Radiohead, the Cure, Roxy Music and the Zombies will also be ushered in at the 34th induction ceremony

Supreme Court affirms privacy rights for Canadians who share a computer

Section 8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects Canadians against unreasonable search and seizure

Most Read