Volunteers during the March 8 homeless count in Surrey. (Photo: Amy Reid)

LETTER: City of Surrey clearly cares little for homeless people on the Strip

Rather, its prime concern is the “health” of economic development and the “safety” of businesses

The Editor,

Re: “Allow homeless to use tarps in heavy rain, resident urges City of Surrey,” the Now-Leader online.

It’s been almost a year since the City of Surrey launched its City Centre Response Plan to deal with the “public health and safety” crisis on the strip.

What has become disturbingly obvious is that the city cares little about the health and safety of the homeless folks forced to live on the sidewalk of 135A Street.

Its prime concern is the “health” of economic development and the “safety” of business and property owners in the area.

Instead of providing housing and health care to the homeless population on the strip, the city has installed a regime of punishment and surveillance.

Banning tarps is just the latest tactic in this strategy, and its underlying message is clear: “we don’t want you to die by fire, but we’re OK if you get sick and die by pneumonia or the flu or other infections that further destroy your bodies already exhausted by poverty and homelessness.”

Let’s face it, Surrey’s “outreach team” of 12 cops and four bylaw performs an “outreach” function for the prison industrial complex. They are not social workers, health workers or housing advocates. They carry guns and the laws they enforce, in arbitrary and punitive ways, serve the interests of the property-owning class.

So it’s not that surprising that after nearly a year the homeless population has grown, the physical and mental health conditions of their lives have gotten worse, and there has been no provision of secure and dignified housing.

For the residents of the strip, the city’s “public health and safety” strategy is one of punishment and elimination, plain and simple.

Dave Diewert, Surrey

Just Posted

Surrey moves to ban sleeping overnight in RVs, motorhomes on city streets

Proposal comes amid complaints about homeless people living in recreational vehicles

Students, volunteers plant 300 trees in White Rock park

City partnership to ‘mimic the natural growth’ of Ruth Johnson Park

$50,000 reward for ‘extremely violent’ South Surrey murder suspect renewed

Offer for information on Brandon Teixeira to remain in effect through April, 2020

Surrey restaurant owner who pointed handgun at staff loses court appeal

Jawahar Singh Padda tried to get his 30-month sentenced reduced

South Surrey man allows smart meter installation ‘under duress’

BC Hydro says devices emit fraction of radio frequency from a cellphone

ELECTION 2019: It’s so close, it could come down to who turns out to vote

Black Press Media’s polling analyst on the origins of predictive seat modelling in Canada

Jack’s Devils beat Quinn’s Canucks 1-0 in NHL brother battle

New Jersey youngster scores first career goal against Vancouver

Two charged after owner’s wild ride through Kamloops in his stolen truck

Crystal Rae Dorrington, 37, and Derrick Ronald Pearson, 32, facing multiple charges

Kamloops Blazers blank Vancouver Giants

A loss on the road for G-men

Man found dead inside Richmond business, IHIT investigating

Police believe the incident was not random

Judge orders credit union’s bank records for Kelowna social worker facing theft allegations

The man is accused of negligence, breach of contract, fraud and a conspiracy with Interior Savings

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Allegations of racism lead to ministry investigation at Vancouver private school

St. George’s School was contacted over what the school describes as ‘deeply offensive behaviour online’

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Most Read