Temporary modular housing is coming to the City of Surrey.
The province has announced 160 supportive housing units to help address the city’s homelessness problem, which are slated to be online by early spring.
Two sites have already been selected, one at 10662 King George Blvd., and one at 13550-105 Ave. A third location is still pending.
The most recent homeless count found more than 600 homeless people living in Surrey.
The issue has been a growing concern in the city, particularly along 135A Street, better known as the “Whalley Strip,” which has become a defacto homeless camp, with tents lining both sides of the street.
Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner said she believes the new housing could help eliminate that problem.
“I cannot think of a reason for anyone to pitch a tent on 135A Street,” she said.
The province is providing $13 million in capital funding to build the units, and another $1 million to operate the counselling, employment skills programming and medical offices associated with them.
Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the province is also looking for a site for 250 new units of permanent affordable housing that will eventually replace the temporary units.
“That second phase is precisely the measure needed to ensure that those individuals who have made good headway in our supportive environments do not fall through the cracks again.”
WATCH: Construction begins on Vancouver’s one of a kind modular home project
The modular housing will be operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society, and Fraser Health will operate an Intensive Case Management (ICM) team out of one of the locations.
“We’ve seen improvements in ICM patients’ quality of life and overall health status by connecting them with housing, harm-reduction services and health-care practitioners for ongoing treatment and support,” said Dr. Victoria Lee, Fraser Health vice-president for population health in a statement.
The province has pledged to build 2,000 units of modular housing for the homeless around B.C.