One of the three modular sites set up to house the homeless in Whalley, on the day they opened last June. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey councillor wants leases for modular homeless housing extended

Councillor Locke says she’s worried leases for temporary units will expire before permanent housing units come online

It’s been roughly six months since 160 units of temporary modular housing for Surrey’s homeless opened in Whalley, and new Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke is worried the leases may expire before the permanent replacements are built.

Locke told the Now-Leader she has asked city staff to see if the leases can be extended.

The suites that opened on June 19 are spread over three properties in Whalley, at 10662 King George Blvd., 13550 105th Ave. and 13425 107A Ave.

BC Housing has committed to building 250 units of permanent supportive housing to replace the 160 suites.

The problem? No sites have yet been identified.

“All three of those projects had a two-year shelf life,” said Locke of the 160 temporary suites. “I’ve asked staff to see if we can extend them, even just a little bit. We need to do something. But we don’t know if that’s possible.”

Locke, who has been chosen to chair the city’s Social Advisory Committee, said she hasn’t yet been told when the three leases are set to expire.

Site selection for the permanent sites is being led by the city, and Locke said “we’re moving as quickly as we can.”

“I did talk to staff about that and I know they’re working really hard on the four sites we have,” she added. “Those will be out in front of the public in the new year, as soon as we can.”

See also: The struggles and successes of Surrey’s homeless housing project

See more: Tents gone from Surrey’s 135A Street, but not all accepted housing: city

Locke said the permanent suites will be modulars “so they can be built quickly… so they can likely go up fast” once approved.

Asked where the four sites may be proposed, Locke said she didn’t yet have specifics. But she did say each location was expected to have about 40 units of housing. The community will, of course, have input into the locations., she noted.

Locke isn’t the first person to express worry about the possibility of the leases on the temporary modular housing expiring before the permanent sites are completed.

Keir Macdonald is executive director of Looking Housing and Health Society, which runs the modular projects. In October, he said it’s “unfortunate” there’s been a delay in identifying where the next phase of the project will be built after BC Housing withdrew its proposal to build a 60-unit, four-storey supportive housing development in the business core of downtown Cloverdale.

See more: Details released for controversial Cloverdale supportive housing project

See also: BC Housing withdraws application for Cloverdale supportive housing

The majority of the opposition centred on it being an inappropriate place for such a facility. And in the middle of an election campaign, some mayoral candidates voiced their opposition, also.

“It’s a concern,” Macdonald said, at the time, of that delay. “One of our sites has 12 months to run on its lease…. We know how long projects take to get built. The clock is ticking.”

Macdonald said while the 160 modular units are “a fantastic start,” it’s a far cry from what’s needed.

“We’re still turning people away everyday from the shelter,” he noted.

The 2017 Metro Vancouver homeless count identified 602 homeless people in Surrey, up from 403 in 2014.

Read also: Green Timbers transitional housing project OK’d, but without shelter beds



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

New West mayor says Surrey won’t be left out in transit 10-year plan

Jonathan Cote one of two speakers at luncheon focusing on transportation, land use planning

UPDATE: Missing Surrey snowshoer found dead on Mt. Seymour

North Shore Rescue resumed its search today after efforts were temporarily halted Tuesday due to snowstorm

UPDATE: Woman, off-duty cop in critical condition after stabbing outside North Delta elementary school

The officer was intervening in an alleged assault outside of Immaculate Conception School when he and the woman were stabbed

Suspect charged after four Surrey banks were robbed in just four hours

Financial institutions in North Surrey targeted on Feb. 12

Surrey says WorkSafeBC should be in charge of asbestos abatement

City staff say WorkSafeBC has ‘greater knowledge, experience and expertise’ concerning asbestos

VIDEO: Nail-biter game against Germany tonight earns Langley’s Team Canada a win

Langley’s Team Tardi is 5-2 at the junior curling worlds in Nova Scotia, hoping to defend their title

Ontario man accused of killing 11-year-old daughter dies in hospital, police say

Roopesh Rajkumar had been hospitalized with what police described as a self-inflicted gunshot wound

Manitoba ‘pauses’ link with ex-B.C. premier Gordon Campbell after allegations

Campbell had been hired to review two major hydro projects

Heritage minute features Japanese-Canadian baseball team, internment

The Vancouver Asahi baseball team won various championships across the Pacific Northwest

$10-a-day child care not in 2019 budget, but advocate not irked

Sharon Gregson with the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C. says NDP on track to deliver promise

B.C. Seniors Advocate questions labour shortage in care homes

Are there really no workers, or are care aide wages too low?

B.C. business groups worry about looming economic decline in wake of NDP budget

The party’s second government budget focused on plenty of spending, business advocates say

Man injured in police shooting near Nelson has died: B.C. police watchdog

The death follows an incident in Bonnington on Feb. 13

Experts urge caution after 10 human-triggered avalanches across B.C.

One man is still stuck after avalanche on south coast

Most Read