Surrey has shut down more than drug homes in the last seven months, city officials say.
Since the creation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Crime, Surrey has slammed the doors on 103 “problem unregulated” alcohol and drug recovery homes, drug houses and flop homes. Another 62 are currently under investigation.
“The work that is being done to rein in disruptive unregulated recovery homes is part of the High Risk Location Initiative under the Mayor’s Task Force on Crime,” Mayor Dianne Watts said in a news release.
The task force was set up earlier this year, weeks after the killing of hockey mom Julie Paskall outside the Newton Ice Arena.
Part of the strategy was setting up a collaborative effort between the city’s bylaw department, RCMP, Crown counsel and social service agencies.
The idea was to target problem homes and find adequate services for the people displaced during the closures.
Surrey has been using its nuisance and zoning bylaws to crack down on the homes.
“Typically upon receiving a complaint, it takes 15 to 30 days to shut down a problem unregulated recovery home,” said Surrey Bylaw Manager Jas Rehal.
Of the regulated recovery homes in the City of Surrey, 36 operate under the auspices of the Assisted Living Registry and three are licensed by the Fraser Health Authority.
Susan Sanderson, who runs Surrey’s Realistic Recovery Society, questions the city’s claim that it has shut down so many unregulated homes.
She hasn’t heard of anyone complaining they’ve been evicted due to city action.
The idea that that many people (400-600 in total) could be safely relocated is hard to fathom, she said.
Rehal said the closures were a mix of flop houses, drug houses and unregulated recovery facilities.
He believes the vast bulk of the former residents either found other accommodation or went to another city.
“Some people have left the city, some have gone to other homes,” Rehal said, adding crews have checked shelters and homeless camps and they haven’t seen an increase in numbers.
A list of the closures, obtained at the request of The Leader, shows only three of the homes were in South Surrey.
The rest were north of 57 Avenue. A full 95 of the homes were north of 72 Avenue.
Rehal said there are more than 50 problem houses still under investigation by the city.