Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Peace Portal Alliance Church, at the corner of King George Boulevard and 152 Street, is the extreme-weather shelter for South Surrey for the upcoming season. It is to have 14 mats available nightly for those experiencing homelessness, regardless of weather conditions. (Tracy Holmes photo)

14 beds planned for South Surrey extreme-weather shelter

Webinar tonight to field questions, share info on Peace Portal Alliance Church refuge

The Semiahmoo Peninsula will once again offer an extreme-weather shelter for those seeking refuge from the cold and wet in the coming months.

But there are a couple of significant changes to the program this year – including a plan for it to open every night, not just when temperatures drop below freezing.

Second, the shelter will be operating at Peace Portal Alliance Church (15128 27B Ave. ) in South Surrey, not in White Rock’s Star of the Sea hall, where it has been for the past two years, following demolition of White Rock’s First United Church for redevelopment. Officials learned earlier this year that the hall would not be available for the shelter over the coming season.

Peace Portal was announced in May as a temporary shelter for the homeless during the pandemic, to be open every night until June 30. At that time, officials said a search was on for a new site, as well as to identify a site for a year-round shelter.

READ MORE: Temporary shelter established at South Surrey’s Peace Portal Alliance

Now, it is one of just five extreme-weather shelters – offering a combined total of 52 mats for adults and six for youth – lined up for all of Surrey and White Rock for the coming winter, according to a report shared at the Oct. 19 Surrey council meeting. That’s compared to nine such shelters and a total of 153 spaces last year.

READ MORE: Homeless people in Surrey face ‘shocking and scary’ scenario this winter

Jon LeFave, Peace Portal’s pastor of local and global engagement, said Monday (Oct. 26) that he was on a team that searched, to no avail, for a shelter site during the summer months.

Noting that people have been found sleeping on church property since before the COVID-19 pandemic – at times leaving belongings and causing mild damage – “we figure best to offer a warm space for people to sleep and in so doing mitigate the occurrences of folks sleeping in the forested areas around our church,” LeFave said.

The church being located close to bus routes for other resources is also a benefit to those accessing the shelter, he said.

Attendance at the temporary shelter averaged between eight and 10 people in May/June, and cooler days have served to demonstrate that the need continues.

“Since the weather has dipped in the last few weeks, we’ve had a few different folks looking for shelter on our property,” LeFave said.

In addition to a plan to offer space for 14 to hunker down overnight, Peace Portal has shower facilities guests may access, he added.

LeFave did not have a confirmed opening date, but said it’s hoped the shelter will be able to open early next month. Its hours will be from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.

He does not expect the church to continue as an extreme-weather shelter for the long-term.

“We are seeing this as a unique commitment during the COVID season as many of the programs typically happening in our gymnasium have been put on pause during this season.”

A webinar to inform neighbours and answer questions is planned for tonight (Oct. 26) at 7:30 p.m. To register, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_CM342uwlTrq7GhcnvrZTfA



tholmes@peacearchnews.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

CoronavirusHomelessSurreyWeatherWhite Rock

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

Just Posted

Pastry chef Eric Fernandez stands alongside some of his many creations at Popup Patisserie, a pop-up pastry shop on 176th Street that will be open until the end of December. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Popup Patisserie opens in Cloverdale

Handmade holiday pastries shop located on 176th Street

Tom Jackson and bassist Kirby Barber in a trailer for "The Huron Carole," from video posted to youtube.com.
Tom Jackson’s ‘Huron Carole’ concert in White Rock goes virtual to feed hungry Canadians

Surrey broadcast date of Blue Frog-recorded show is Friday, Dec. 11, to benefit Surrey Food Bank

The COVID-19 test centre at Peace Arch Hospital is located on the building’s south side. (Tracy Holmes photo)
South Surrey woman calls for consistency in COVID-19 post-test messaging

‘Could we just get one thing straight?’ asks Deb Antifaev

A worker from Yellow Fence Rentals installs fencing around Cloverdale Youth Park Nov. 25. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale Youth Park closed

Basketball court and skate park fenced off

Joel Goddard and Susie Fletcher are parents of a baby son. Joel hasn’t been seen since Nov. 10. (Missing Joel Goddard Facebook page)
Family and friends continue searching for missing Langley father

Helicopters, drones and foot searches planned in the coming days

A man wearing a face mask to help curb the spread of COVID-19 walks in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Sunday, Nov. 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. records deadliest day of pandemic with 13 deaths, 738 new COVID-19 cases

Number of people in hospital is nearing 300, while total cases near 30,000

(File photo)
Alberta woman charged after allegedly hitting boy with watermelon at Okanagan campsite

Police say a disagreement among friends at an Adams Lake campsite turned ugly

Court of Appeal for British Columbia in Vancouver. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
B.C. woman loses appeal to have second child by using late husband’s sperm

Assisted Human Reproduction Act prohibits the removal of human reproductive material from a donor without consent

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

B.C. projects targeting the restoration of sockeye salmon stocks in the Fraser and Columbia Watersheds will share in $10.9 million of federal funding to protect species at risk. (Kenny Regan photo)
13 projects protecting B.C. aquatic species at risk receive $11 million in federal funding

Salmon and marine mammals expected to benefit from ecosystem-based approach

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Krista Macinnis displays the homework assignment that her Grade 6 daughter received on Tuesday. (Submitted photo)
B.C. mom angry that students asked to list positive stories about residential schools

Daughter’s Grade 6 class asked to write down 5 positive stories or facts

Barrels pictured outside Oliver winery, Quinta Ferreira, in May. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
B.C. Master of Wine reflects on industry’s teetering economic state

Pandemic, for some wine makers, has been a blessing in disguise. For others, not so much.

Most Read