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)

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

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

Just Posted

Laura Barnes is to feature some of her artwork at Gallery at Central Plaza next month. (Contributed photo)
New artist showcase coming to White Rock gallery

Laura Barnes work, mixing brights and darks, to be displayed in February

Surrey Community Cat Foundation received funding to assist with medical procedures. (File photo)
SurreyCats receives grant to assist with spay/neuter costs

PetSmart Charities of Canada donates $5,000

White Rock Public Library (File photo)
Surrey, White Rock literacy leaders kick off Family Literacy Week

Literacy events to take place Jan. 24 to 31

Beds are set up at the emergency response centre at the North Surrey Recreation Centre. (Contributed file photo)
26 people test positive for COVID-19 at Surrey emergency shelter

Centre located at North Surrey Recreation Centre

Surrey firefighters respond to a townhouse fire Sunday morning. (Shane MacKichan photos)
Firefighters respond to townhouse fire in Surrey

Fire ‘knocked down quickly’: witness

Terrance Josephson of the Princeton Posse, at left, and Tyson Conroy of the Summerland Steam clash during a Junior B hockey game at the Summerland Arena in the early spring of 2020. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Test your knowledge of Canada’s national winter sport

A woman injects herself with crack cocaine at a supervised consumption site Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Drug users at greater risk of dying as services scale back in second wave of COVID-19

It pins the blame largely on a lack of supports, a corrupted drug supply

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

sd
VIDEO: Mission drag racer scores 1st career win, sets world record, makes history in 2020

Justin Bond, founder and owner of JBS Equipment Mission, has break-out year

Most Read