One of the three modular sites set up to house the homeless in Whalley, on the day they opened last June. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey councillor wants leases for modular homeless housing extended

Councillor Locke says she’s worried leases for temporary units will expire before permanent housing units come online

It’s been roughly six months since 160 units of temporary modular housing for Surrey’s homeless opened in Whalley, and new Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke is worried the leases may expire before the permanent replacements are built.

Locke told the Now-Leader she has asked city staff to see if the leases can be extended.

The suites that opened on June 19 are spread over three properties in Whalley, at 10662 King George Blvd., 13550 105th Ave. and 13425 107A Ave.

BC Housing has committed to building 250 units of permanent supportive housing to replace the 160 suites.

The problem? No sites have yet been identified.

“All three of those projects had a two-year shelf life,” said Locke of the 160 temporary suites. “I’ve asked staff to see if we can extend them, even just a little bit. We need to do something. But we don’t know if that’s possible.”

Locke, who has been chosen to chair the city’s Social Advisory Committee, said she hasn’t yet been told when the three leases are set to expire.

Site selection for the permanent sites is being led by the city, and Locke said “we’re moving as quickly as we can.”

“I did talk to staff about that and I know they’re working really hard on the four sites we have,” she added. “Those will be out in front of the public in the new year, as soon as we can.”

See also: The struggles and successes of Surrey’s homeless housing project

See more: Tents gone from Surrey’s 135A Street, but not all accepted housing: city

Locke said the permanent suites will be modulars “so they can be built quickly… so they can likely go up fast” once approved.

Asked where the four sites may be proposed, Locke said she didn’t yet have specifics. But she did say each location was expected to have about 40 units of housing. The community will, of course, have input into the locations., she noted.

Locke isn’t the first person to express worry about the possibility of the leases on the temporary modular housing expiring before the permanent sites are completed.

Keir Macdonald is executive director of Looking Housing and Health Society, which runs the modular projects. In October, he said it’s “unfortunate” there’s been a delay in identifying where the next phase of the project will be built after BC Housing withdrew its proposal to build a 60-unit, four-storey supportive housing development in the business core of downtown Cloverdale.

See more: Details released for controversial Cloverdale supportive housing project

See also: BC Housing withdraws application for Cloverdale supportive housing

The majority of the opposition centred on it being an inappropriate place for such a facility. And in the middle of an election campaign, some mayoral candidates voiced their opposition, also.

“It’s a concern,” Macdonald said, at the time, of that delay. “One of our sites has 12 months to run on its lease…. We know how long projects take to get built. The clock is ticking.”

Macdonald said while the 160 modular units are “a fantastic start,” it’s a far cry from what’s needed.

“We’re still turning people away everyday from the shelter,” he noted.

The 2017 Metro Vancouver homeless count identified 602 homeless people in Surrey, up from 403 in 2014.

Read also: Green Timbers transitional housing project OK’d, but without shelter beds



amy.reid@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook and follow Amy on Twitter

Just Posted

Pedestrian injured after train collision in Cloverdale

Police say the investigation is in the early stages

VIDEO: Langley twins get RAD with Santa photos

Canuck Place children’s hospice in Abbotsford benefits from a Nov. 28 charity picture-taking event

Surrey filmmaker creates ‘Monster’ movie about gang life in the city

Fleetwood resident Inderveer Sodhi wrote, directed and stars in his coming-of-age fictional drama

Surrey drunk driver gets 32 months in prison for killing grandma, injuring girl

Shavin Reynold Singh, 31, is also prohibited from driving for four years

Cloverdale hamper program brings Christmas cheer to 500 households in Surrey, Langley, and White Rock

Cloverdale Community Kitchen has been running hamper program for 26 years

VIDEO: UBC exchange students offered $1,000 to help with leaving Hong Kong

The university said 31 of its students were attending four universities in Hong Kong

VIDEO: Giants drop 3-1 decision in Portland

Vancouver G-Men hit home ice in Langley next on Saturday, hoping to defeat Edmonton

‘Actors can play any roles’: Debate over ‘colour-blind’ casting after Victoria lawsuit

Tenyjah Indra McKenna filed a complaint over racially-motivated casting

Infants more vulnerable to measles than previously thought: Canadian study

Babies typically don’t receive the measles vaccine until they are 12 months old

Shatner, Obomsawin among 39 inductees to Order of Canada today

Shatner is being given one of Canada’s highest civilian honours for his 60-year career

VIDEO: One man dead after early morning house fire in Langley

Two other people were sent to hospital with injuries

John Mann, singer and songwriter of group Spirit of the West dead at 57

Mann died peacefully in Vancouver on Wednesday from early onset Alzheimer’s

Most Read