By Anna Burns, Surrey Now-Leader
Atira Women’s Resource Society officially opened “Little’s Too” social housing complex Friday (July 28) in Whalley.
“This is an awesome opportunity to celebrate, at any given time, housing for people who rightfully deserve to have housing,” Atira board member Deborah Baker said. “It’s a basic human need.”
The complex features 44 new units that will provide 24/7 support to women experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, homelessness, including cis, transgendered and two-spirit women.
“These 44 new homes give the opportunity to provide safe and secure supportive housing for women in Surrey as they move forward in their journey,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum.
Each unit has its own bed, washroom, cooktop, air conditioning, a heater, fridge, television with basic cable, WIFI and table and chairs. Lunch is provided for the women every day, and there are several communal spaces on the first floor. Several units are wheelchair accessible.
The original housing complex, Little’s Place, consists of 22 units, which is currently being remodelled.
Little’s Place and Little’s Too was named after Santanna Scott-Huntinghawk after she died from an overdose in a tent in November of 2016. Scott-Huntinghawk’s nickname was “Little” because of her petite stature.
“With the support of her family, when we opened Little’s Place, we wanted to not only honour Little, but also create space for women like Little so that we wouldn’t see that happen again,” said Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira Women’s Resource Society.
Funding for the project was provided by the federal, provincial and municipal governments with support from the capital funder, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation.
– With files from Lauren Collins