Surrey Homelessness & Housing Society is so grateful for our long-standing relationships with organizations creating Housing for Hope in Surrey. Recently, we had the wonderful opportunity to speak with one of our community partners, the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver, about the impact of our grants, updates on the projects SHHS has supported, and much more!
Elizabeth Fry (EFry) Society of Greater Vancouver is a not-for-profit agency that provides gender-informed services focused on addressing vulnerabilities of those at-risk of or experiencing homelessness, substance use, mental illness or stress, justice system involvement, and the intergenerational effects of each. EFry opened its first shelter program in Surrey in 1993, supporting homeless women and children and funded by BC Housing.
EFry’s presence in Surrey has continued to grow, thanks to the support of the city and other leaders in the sector like SHHS. They now operate five homeless shelters for women and children in Surrey, two of which have been operating in response to the pandemic. They also operate homeless outreach programs, a program for adjudicated Indigenous youth, two bed-based substance use support programs, one employment and social assistance support program, and one child development-focused program.
Impact of SHHS’s Grants
Over many years, SHHS has provided critical support for EFry’s projects and programs. This includes:
- Support for the Ellendale and Ellendale Cradle Substance Use Treatment Building in Surrey. It has allowed them to double the number of treatment beds in the facility, and with a $90,000 grant, enabled EFry to install a sprinkler system that was required to expand the capacity. Additionally, when they discovered the water service was not large enough, SHHS provided a further grant to upgrade their water main. Because of SHHS’s contributions, EFry is currently able to operate 14 additional substance use beds.
- Supporting fundraising for a replacement beam and kitchens in Cynthia’s Shelter, an older duplex in Guildford that EFry operates. The SHHS Board organized a tour of the facility for Beedie, whose foundation provided funding to complete these necessary upgrades.
- Providing a grant of $50,000 for the Rosewood housing development’s feasibility study, which subsequently turned into a $31 million project. SHHS also made a further $250,000 grant to FRAFCA for their 15 units in the Rosewood, which made it possible for EFry to offer the rent price of the residential units at shelter rates.
- Funding of $72,237 in 2020 for Surrey Client Supports & Shelter Diversion Project. As EFry says, “this grant was so beneficial to the vulnerable clients we serve.” They were able to provide individualized supports to clients who were either homeless or at risk, by helping with rent arrears, damage deposits, utility arrears, housing start-up items, and emergency housing like hotels.
- A grant of $35,710 in 2021 for Ellendale Refresh & Licensing Compliance. With this funding, EFry was able to paint the entire facility, purchase new refrigeration units, and build a gazebo to provide an outdoor space with protection from the rain and sun (pictured below).
The Rosewood Building
The construction of the Rosewood building, which SHHS supported with $300,000 total in funding, is close to substantial completion! EFry is expecting to move into the building starting in September. Because of SHHS’s initial grant to support the feasibility study for the significant capital build, EFry completed the preliminary work and was well positioned to act when land and resources became available. The Rosewood will create homes for 57 women, expand shelters, and allow EFry the capacity to deliver holistic, wrap-around services for the women and children they serve.
EFry has built a strong partnership with Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre (FRAFCA), who will own and operate housing units in the Rosewood. SHHS provided a substantial $250,000 grant to FRAFCA, which meant they could own those apartments within the building outright.
Another meaningful partnership supporting the Rosewood is with the UBC School of Dentistry, which will be operating a full dental clinic on the first floor of the building that will serve their clients with free or low-cost full dental service.
In addition to grants, SHHS is proud to have supported the Rosewood building as a partner since its inception, providing advice, assisting with raising philanthropic funds, and working closely with EFry as a community partner.
The Need for Housing & Supports in Surrey
We asked EFry how they see the need for permanent, supportive housing and other services (for women specifically) in Surrey, and the other emerging issues in the region.
The Surrey Housing Needs Report, released in April 2022, highlighted the lack of supply and affordability in the housing market in Surrey. From EFry’s perspective, in the last 86 years that they have operated in Greater Vancouver, women and children have not been so dramatically affected by the housing crisis as they have been recently – the number of homeless women and children and those in extreme high need are growing exponentially. At any point in time this year, they have had a minimum of 35 children in residence at their shelters.
The most pressing and urgent issue that they see is that of family homelessness. Homeless systems are designed for the single homeless person, and children have largely been absent from the thinking and planning. This needs to change, as homeless children have a significantly higher likelihood of becoming homeless as adults.
EFry is more than a service provider – they work to end the conditions that lead women to poverty, homelessness, and incarceration. They welcome people to join them on that journey.
Are you passionate about the great work Elizabeth Fry Society is doing in the community, and want to get involved? We encourage you to visit their website for more information.
This post was created in partnership with the Elizabeth Fry Society of Greater Vancouver.