The interior of Surrey’s newest shelter, dubbed the “Olive Branch.” The 43-bed facility is housed in the old Surrey Food Bank building. (Submitted photo)

The interior of Surrey’s newest shelter, dubbed the “Olive Branch.” The 43-bed facility is housed in the old Surrey Food Bank building. (Submitted photo)

New 43-bed shelter opens in old Surrey Food Bank building

‘Olive Branch’ shelter opens as nearby Boulevard Shelter closes its doors

A new 43-bed shelter welcomed its first residents on Monday in the building that used to house the Surrey Food Bank in Whalley.

“Right now, it’s 43 beds, 27 men and 16 women,” said Michael Musgrove, executive director of Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) that will run the operation.

“It’s pretty exciting,” he added.

Musgrove said this week, everyone who was being provided shelter at the former North Surrey rec centre were being moved to the new facility. That site opened as a response to COVID-19 last spring, but Musgrove said it has “essentially become another emergency shelter space.”

Although the new shelter is opening, Musgrove said “we’re kind of maintaining the status quo here” due to the parallel closure this week of the nearby Boulevard Shelter.

“But I think city and BC Housing are working hard to try to find more spaces, especially with winter coming,” he added.

READ ALSO: ‘People could die’: Locke urges Surrey to use civic sites for emergency winter shelter

Marty Jones, who oversees SUMS’ shelter operations, said things went well this week moving people into the new shelter, which has been dubbed the “Olive Branch.”

“The name ‘Olive Branch’ has the significance of extending grace, extending peace,” said Jones, director of housing for SUMS. “Just being there for the guests that need the care and housing so desperately. We’re not seeing a slow down in the need for housing.”

Jones said the shelter has two floors, with women upstairs and men downstairs.

“It’s really neat in the fact that we’ve got a couple of different partners in here,” he said of the new shelter. “SUMS is the provider, we’re staffing it, but we also have the partnership with Fraser Health. They have nurses that are here during the day which is wonderful. The biggest thing for us is to get our guests to go see a doctor, go to a clinic, we’re able to do basic medications, they do virtual calls with doctors and they’re able to provide them with their medications, they’re dispersed from here and basic things like wound care. So it’s really neat to have that here.”

The new shelter also has safe injection space and also offers its residents access to a “MAP” program (Managed Alcohol Program).

Jones said the shelter is considered a permanent one.

“There’s a temporary nature in that we don’t know if it’s for five years seven years, but it is a permanent shelter,” he noted.

“We’re trying to make this as much of a home as we can. We were talking to a guest yesterday, he hasn’t had a Christmas tree for 14 years. We’re going to do Christmas, we’re going to do turkey dinner, we want to build as much community as we can here. So our guests feel safe, feel warm, feel welcomed and feel loved.

Below: The interior of Surrey’s newest shelter, dubbed the “Olive Branch.” The 43-bed facility is housed in the old Surrey Food Bank building. (Submitted photo)

homelessphoto

homelessphoto



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

City of SurreyHomelessness

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

Just Posted

Delta character - and former White Rock resident - Pansy May Stuttard inspects a loaded revolver in the cover photo for Jim Dwight and Gary Cullen’s fascinating biography, Lord don’t want me Devil won’t take me. Contributed photo
West Coast’s ‘Pistol-packin’ Pansy’ lives on in colourful biography

Infamous Delta character ended her days in White Rock and South Surrey

A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary. March 2021. (Photo: Lauren Collins)
Reports of student attendance ‘dwindling’ at Surrey schools: teachers’ association

STA president said he’s heard from staff that students might not attend in-person for 4th quarter

(Photo: MOSAIC/Facebook)
Organization receives $10K from B.C. government to tackle racism in Surrey, White Rock

Funding to go toward forum for International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

A police officer aims a radar gun at oncoming traffic during a school-zone speed trap traffic blitz outside Peace Arch Elementary in 2017. (File photo)
White Rock council heeds residents’ plea for better speed signage

Roper Avenue concerns note proximity of two elementary schools

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

B.C. homeowners are being urged to take steps to prepare for the possibility of a flood by moving equipment and other assets to higher ground. (J.R. Rardon)
‘Entire province faces risk’: B.C. citizens urged to prepare for above-average spring flooding

Larger-than-normal melting snowpack poses a threat to the province as warmer weather touches down

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Vancouver-based Doubleview Gold Corp. is developing claims in an area north of Telegraph Creek that occupies an important place in Tahltan oral histories, said Chad Norman Day, president of the Tahltan Central Government. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO)
B.C. Indigenous nation opposes mineral exploration in culturally sensitive area

There’s “no way” the Tahltan would ever support a mine there, says Chad Norman Day, president of its central government

Stz’uminus Elder George Harris, Ladysmith Mayor Aaron Stone, and Stz’uminus Chief Roxanne Harris opened the ceremony. (Cole Schisler photo)
Symbolic red dresses rehung along B.C. highway after vandals tore them down

Leaders from Stz’uminus First Nation and the Town of Ladysmith hung new dresses on Sat. April 17

A Western toadlet crosses the centre line of Elk View Road in Chilliwack on Aug. 26, 2010. A tunnel underneath the road has since been installed to help them migrate cross the road. Saturday, April 24 is Save the Frogs Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Progress File)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of April 18 to 24

Save the Frogs Day, Love Your Thighs Day and Scream Day are all coming up this week

Local carpenter Tyler Bohn embarked on a quest to create the East Sooke Treehouse, after seeing people build similar structures on a Discovery Channel show. (East Sooke Treehouse Facebook photo)
PHOTOS: B.C. carpenter builds fort inspired by TV’s ‘Treehouse Masters’

The whimsical structure features a wooden walking path, a loft, kitchen – and is now listed on Airbnb

Most Read