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

$1M offered for ‘innovative’ projects to house Surrey homeless

Surrey society offers grant money after spike in homelessness in 2017

SURREY — The Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society has issued a $1-million call for “innovative” housing proposals after a spike in the city’s homeless count this year.

The 2017 Metro Vancouver Homeless Count found the number of homeless people in Surrey rose by almost 50 per cent this year to 602, compared to 403 in the last count in 2014.

See more: Count finds 49 per cent more homeless people in Surrey

See more: HOMELESS COUNT: The toll of Surrey streets

“For 10 years, we have been working tirelessly with community partners on behalf of the most vulnerable in Surrey and while we have much to celebrate, we have more work to do as affordable housing has become even further out of reach for many people,” SHHS chair and Surrey Councillor Judy Villeneuve said in a release.

Since 2007, the society has issued $3.5 million in grants to projects that have a “demonstrated impact in reducing homelessness,” she said.

Villeneuve said Surrey shares the regional challenge of escalating housing affordability and a “devastating drug overdose crisis.”

“Both these issues are contributing to the rising number of homeless in our community and the visibility of Surrey’s homeless individuals in tent cities,” she added.