It’s been a week since the City of Surrey and BC Housing’s major operation to move a large homeless population from the Whalley Strip into modular housing and shelters.
Now the city says it’s working to keep the street clear.
New “No Loitering” signs have been posted on the until-recently tent-filled stretch of 135A street, but Surrey by-law manager Jas Rehal says so far, the homeless are staying in their newly-assigned homes.
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“It’s going very well, and it went really good, the move week,” Rehal said.
“It’s better now that the individuals are staying in their homes and they’re accessing the services they need, so we’re very, very proud of what’s happening.”
However, Rehal said that for the time being, the Surrey Outreach Team — a squad of police and by-law officers that maintain a 24-hour presence in the area — is staying in place.
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At least 16 businesses packed up and moved out of the area in recent years due to the growing street disorder and associated crime, and Rehal said the city is now looking at ways to draw them back.
“There’s general interest growing and hopefully in coming weeks it’ll grow even further,” he said.
“We are definitely having some people come around and take a look. They want to take a look, not just read about it that there’s no tents.”
Until last week, about 170 people had been camping on the strip in about 80 tents.
The majority of them have been moved into 160 units of modular housing operated by the Lookout Housing and Health Society at 10662 King George Boulevard, 13550 105 Avenue and 13425 107A Avenue.