SURREY (NEWS 1130) — Nearly 50 units of temporary housing for low-income people in Surrey are set to make way for condos and it has advocates pushing for more options for those on a smaller budget.
People living at Nickerson Place in Whalley have been waiting for a permanent facility to be built. But as advocate Isabelle Krupp points out, it’s supposed to be demolished later this month, and that new facility still isn’t open.
“Even if the city did put up the promise 250 permanent units. If we add together those units, plus the 46 that are being destroyed. That still would house only a fraction of Surrey’s homeless population which is well over 1,000 at this point.”
And with the lack of options out available for lower-income residents, Krupp says, “Right now, it makes absolutely no sense for our government to be destroying non-market housing they should be building more.”
“We expect that there will be hundreds, if not thousands, of more people across the province facing homelessness in the coming months because of the COVID-19 pandemic and because the moratorium on evictions is coming to a close.”
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Krupp adds the lifespan of someone who is homeless gets cut in half and with the pandemic, “people are facing additional health concerns.”
“We know homelessness right now is harder than ever because resources have been shut down, libraries have been closed, and any kind of emergency shelter that governments have opened up is temporary.”
Surrey Coun. Brenda Locke agrees there aren’t enough housing options for low-income people, but says the residents at Nickerson have already been offered other options to keep people off the streets.
She says they will be moved to other temporary housing while they wait for the permanent facility to be completed, hopefully by October.
As for the delays in getting that open, Locke says you can blame “nesting birds” on the property.
“So that got postponed a little bit, but that’s still going very actively being built, as we speak,” she says. “And all of those people and many of them are already have been moved are placed in shelters and we have shelters available for them. Nobody is put out on the street.”