The new “pods” set up at the temporary emergency response shelter, which was set up at the old North Surrey Recreation Centre to help stop the spread of COVID-19. (Submitted photo: Mike Musgrove)

‘Pods’ set up at Surrey homeless centre

Temporary shelter set up in April to help stop the spread of COVID-19

Surrey’s temporary emergency response centre, which was set up to reduce the spread of COVID-19, hasn’t had a positive case yet.

The Surrey Urban Mission Society-run centre, located in the old North Surrey Recreation Centre, opened April 7. By April 9, their first person arrived, but they didn’t have COVID-19.

When speaking to SUMS executive director Mike Musgrove at the end of May, he said the centre currently had 23 people recovering from colds and cases of flu.

“We haven’t had a COVID-positive result yet, so that’s really great,” said Musgrove, adding that while he doesn’t know the “exact” number of COVID-19 test done by volunteers, they have done “a lot of tests.”

READ ALSO: ‘The worst is we’re full – both arenas’: North Surrey Rec Centre taking in sick homeless population, April 11, 2020

He said the centre has allowed the homeless population to have a place to recover, “without being on the street and sick.”

“When people were outside and sick, it was always just so rough. It’s rough for anyone who’s got the flu, but to be stuck outside and not have a place to stay warm or even sleep it off.”

While volunteers haven’t “calculated the average stay,” Musgrove said he figures it’s about six days. But he added that they encourage people to stay for the full 14 days.

And since opening, the homeless centres have received a bit of an upgrade from the physically distanced cots.

Musgrove said in late-April, he heard that the centres would be getting “pods” for people to stay in.

The “pods” have an L-shaped wall, giving a bit of privacy between each of the new beds.

“It looks like we care about the folks that are sick and non-housed. That’s what it looks like and it’s pretty wonderful,” Musgrove said of the new setup. “It’s just constant improvement and growth and willingness to do what it takes to improve as much as possible.”

Because of the pandemic, Musgrove said it has “brought to light” not just the improvement in care for seniors, but also the homeless population.

“With the isolation and things, maybe people have a bit of understanding or maybe more time to listen to these things, but… we have some room for improvement here with our care for our most vulnerable citizens, whether they’re people suffering with addictions and mental health or our seniors. These are tricky times for the best of us.”

The Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing announced 900 new spaces at 23 sites, including hotels, motels and community centres throughout B.C., for the vulnerable population to self-isolate.

READ ALSO: Old North Surrey rec centre converted to ‘safe spaces’ for homeless during COVID-19, April 7, 2020

The North Surrey Rec Centre, which is being operated by SUMS, is one of those spaces that was announced on April 7. It is a 110-bed centre.

The building has been vacant since December, when the rec centre closed its doors for good.

Asked how long the site could be operational, Musgrove said he doesn’t know. SUMS hasn’t been given a timeline yet for when it could close.

“We want to do our best every day and if they tell us we’re done in June, then we’re done in June, but if they tell us we’re going keep it open until Christmas, then we’re going to stay open until Christmas. If they don’t tell us anything, then we’ll just keep doing our best every day until they do,” he said.

“We do note that restrictions are easing, and we start to think maybe that means that this is coming to an end, but then everyone’s talking about the second wave. Certainly, you don’t want to have to replicate this somewhere else on a second wave. This has taken a lot of work to get going.”

CoronavirusHomelessSurrey

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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Surrey-area associations gear up for hockey restart

But it’s not yet clear when city-operated rinks and rec centres will reopen

White Rock calls for street-banner artists

Deadline to apply is 4 p.m. July 24

Rugby practices to return to Lower Mainland fields this fall

B.C. Rugby announced its return to play plan July 7

Surrey Mounties seize shotgun, ammo, after officers shot at with BB gun in Newton

Police say they were on foot patrol in the 6400-block of King George Boulevard when someone fired at them with a BB gun

South Surrey crash victim honoured by KPU for ‘determination and strength’

Elgin Park Secondary graduate wrote book detailing recovery from 2007 car crash

The pandemic is widening Canada’s workplace gender gap

Gender pay gap is incentivizing fathers to work while mothers watch children, a new B.C. study has found

Ex-Okanagan Mountie forfeits 20 days’ pay after sexual misconduct review

A former Vernon RCMP constable made sexual comments, grabbed genitals of male officer in two incidents 10 years ago

Rural Chilliwack residents asked to stay indoors, lock doors amid heavy police presence

Heavy police presence in rural Chilliwack neighbourhood as RCMP contend with ‘serious situation’

Man found dead on Okanagan trail identified as Hollywood actor

GoFundMe campaign launched for man found dead at summit of Spion Kop

3 people dead in Prince George motel fire

Fire personnel believe the blaze was suspicious although investigation in early stages

B.C. sets terms to review police, mental health, race relations

MLAs to recommend Police Act changes by May 2021

Feds announce $8.3M to deal with ‘ghost’ fishing gear in B.C. waters

Ghost gear accounts for up to 70 per cent of all macro-plastics in the ocean by weight

VIDEO: Plane that reportedly crashed into Fraser River was from Delta flight school, Transportation Safety Board confirms

Cessna was flying over the river near Maple Ridge and Langley when it disappeared from radar

Most Read

l -->