NEWS

Surrey homeless shelter could be without a home

10/03/2012 05:18 EDT | Updated 12/03/2012 05:12 EST
The Surrey Urban Mission could be out in the cold this winter as the site where it operates has been sold.

The mission, which provides 60 extreme weather beds along with other services, is in the Central City neighbourhood — an area currently undergoing rapid development.

Jonquill Hallgate, the mission’s executive director, says they’re struggling to find a new location.

"If we find a place we like, it's outside of our price range," she said. "If we find a location we like, it doesn't have a building on it, and so on and so forth."

Hallgate says it’s also difficult to find an area that welcomes a mission with open arms.

"When people hear the word 'church missions' or 'mission,' often you think about people that are homeless and the stereotypical pictures that you see in the newspapers or on TV of people on the Downtown Eastside," she said.

Ken Smith, a homeless man who uses the mission every day, doesn’t know where he’ll go without the mission.

"It's pretty important," he said. "It feeds us. It gives us clothing and stuff."

The mission needs to move out of its current location by January, but Hallgate hopes to find a new place before then.

To fill the possible shelter gap, the city and B.C. Housing are hoping to open 40 shelter beds in Surrey this winter but they too are still working to lock down a location.

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