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Surrey society making a difference in breaking the cycle of homelessness
March 27th, 2014
The City of Surrey is growing fast, adding thousands of people to its population base every year. Sadly, not everyone who lives there has a place to call home. That’s why in 2007 the City helped create the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society. The society provides grants every year to organizations dedicated to fighting homelessness. Many of the groups the society works with also partner with BC Housing on various projects.
“These grants provide access to funding for our partners to create equity that isn’t traditionally funded through other means,” said BC Housing’s Director, Regional Development, Lower Mainland, Naomi Brunemeyer. “It’s also a great fund to tap into for small capital items, support services or feasibility studies.”
“Small bits of money can leverage more money,” agreed Vera LeFranc, who works with Vancity Community Foundation which is responsible for administering the society’s endowment. “That is really the theme of our annual grant awards event: to show how important the partnership is between government, the non-profit sector, and philanthropists.”
LeFranc estimates there are about 400 people in Surrey who are homeless and a large percentage of those are unsheltered. The city does not have a stock of older homes that are easy to convert into supportive housing and purpose-built housing can be very expensive. According to the City’s homelessness plan, 450 units of transitional and supported housing need to be built over the next five to ten years, according to the 2011 Metro Vancouver count.
“We all want to end homelessness and there’s a synergy that happens when we work collectively rather than in individual silos,” she said. “Together we can really make a difference.”
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