On May 25, 2018 Bill Reid Place opened its doors and the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society was there to join in on the celebration. Over five years ago, the late Bill Reid and the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association invited Options Community Services to Cloverdale to work collaboratively to address homelessness in the community. Over the years, Options, BC Housing and a group of committed community agencies worked together to build this new facility, replacing the old farm house and in turn providing more beds and transitional housing units for some of Surrey’s most vulnerable individuals. We were honored to help Options reach their fundraising goal so that this vision for a new shelter in Cloverdale could become a reality!
- 16 bed homeless shelter
- 12 bachelor transition housing units
- Pet-friendly space
- Fundraising goal of $300, 000 was achieved
A Unique Home
Transition studio units
The shelter is built in many exceptional ways as it recognizes that just providing a shelter bed is not an answer to homelessness. In order to break the cycle, people need employment, positive social support and affordable housing.
The twelve transitional housing units are a new component at the Bill Reid Place. These studio units provide much needed housing resources for those who are ready to leave a shelter, but who still require social supports to help them stay housed. The onsite location of the transition housing allows staff to sustain relationships and retain residents’ trust, which is important for those who require ongoing community referrals, such as mental health services.
Pets & Working with Animals
One barrier that is sometimes faced with individuals who are homeless is finding a safe place where they can bring their pets. In some cases, individuals will decline a shelter bed in order to stay with their pet and ensure their pet’s safety. Their pets provide valuable companionship when dealing with social isolation — and in some cases, their pet may be their closest friend. Pets also provide a demonstrated calming effect on stress hormones and can help individuals cultivate empathy and a sense of responsibility as owners learn to meet the basic needs of their animal companions. Recognizing the importance of pet companions and the healing benefits they can provide to those experiencing homelessness, this facility is ‘pet-friendly’ with pets able to stay in designated shelter rooms.
Uniquely, the shelter is also closely located to the new City-operated Animal Shelter, which will provide volunteer opportunities for those interested in learning about animal care while at the same time providing a therapeutic and meaningful activity.
About Bill Reid
Bill Reid, “Mr. Cloverdale” (or “Mr. Surrey”) as he was widely known, was a man who “got things done,” according to his admirers in the business community and in both municipal and provincial government. Mr. Reid passed away in May 2013 after a courageous battle with cancer. He was a former MLA, tourism minister, Executive Director of the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association and well-regarded community leader.
Mr. Reid embraced the problem of homelessness in Cloverdale, bringing the community together ten years ago to work cooperatively on a solution and ultimately inviting Options Community Services Society to open the now replaced 10-bed shelter in an old Cloverdale farm house.
In response to the aging farm house where the need for beds exceeded the available space, the Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society, together with the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, launched a capital campaign to develop a purpose-built shelter in Cloverdale named in honour of Bill Reid. Mr. Reid would be pleased to see how his initial community-driven support for a shelter is sustained and an expanded purpose-built shelter will deliver more community benefit.
Although the fundraising goal has been achieved, Bill Reid Place will continue to accept donations that will go towards operating costs and items needed to support the residents. Donations to the shelter can be made online through the Options Community Services website.