SURREY — It’s a case of bad money being put to good use.
The Civil Forfeitures Act permits the government to seize property that was bought with the proceeds of criminal activity. More than 250 projects and programs province-wide will benefit from the civil forfeiture grants.
The provincial government has earmarked nearly $7.2 million from civil and criminal forfeiture proceeds to help community crime prevention initiatives. It’s the largest one-time grants investment ever in community crime prevention in B.C., according to the B.C. Government Caucus Communications department.
Of that, Surrey organizations fighting gang recruitment, youth crime and violence against women will receive more than $375,000 in government grants.
“All of these organizations do tremendous work to help protect children and vulnerable adults from violence and abuse,” said Marvin Hunt, Liberal MLA for Surrey-Panorama. “We owe all of the staff and volunteers a great deal of credit for making Surrey a better place to live.”
In Surrey, these are Kwantlen Park Secondary School ($11,440) for Challenge Day, the City of Surrey ($19,248) for Newton Youth on the Go!, Surrey School District Board of Education ($20,000) for the REACH program, Surrey School District ($100,000) for the Surrey Gang Prevention Program, Surrey Memorial Hospital ($15,000) for forensic evidence collection, and the Centre for Child Development of the Lower Mainland ($24,486) for Sophie’s Place Child Advocacy Centre.
Also, Atira Women’s Resource Society will receive $20,000 for its Aboriginal Women’s Outreach Program.
The Surrey Women’s Centre Society is set to receive $40,000 for SMART Women & Girls Safety Navigator, $70,000 for the Surrey Domestic Violence Unit, and $75,000 for the Surrey Map Van.
Doug Secord, a communications officer for the provincial government, said the funding for the Surrey Map Van “will support a pilot project to explore the feasibility of a peer-to-peer mobile outreach crisis service for street-level female sex workers in Surrey.
“The project,” he added, “will recruit, train and employ former sex workers to operate a van service among existing and emerging strolls.”
Sonya Boyce, executive director of Surrey Women’s Centre Society, said the name is an acronym for Surrey Mobile Access Project Van. “The model has been identified as a best practice in Forsaken: The Report of the Missing Women Commission of Inquiry.
“We are working with Options Community Resources and the Surrey Vulnerable Women and Girls Working Group to get the project off the ground,” she said.