‘It’s very desperate’: Langley food bank struggles to find new home

Click to play video: 'Metro Vancouver food bank struggling to find new home' Metro Vancouver food bank struggling to find new home
WATCH: The Langley Food Bank is losing its current home, and is having trouble finding a new one in Metro Vancouver's hot real estate market. Nadia Stewart reports – Feb 19, 2019

As the search for a new home for the Sources Langley Food Bank continues, CEO David Young says his team has been having a lot of sleepless nights lately.

“It’s very desperate,” Young said. “We’re down to two months and a bit and counting.”

For the past four years, the food bank has been housed in the basement of a Langley church on 200th Street. They’ve always known it would be a temporary stay, but didn’t expect the search for a new space to be as challenging as it has been.

After more than 18 months of looking, they still have nowhere to go. And they have to vacate their current space by the end of April.

READ MORE: ‘People do go hungry’: Langley food bank fears the worst as it faces eviction

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“The vacancy rate for the properties we need in the city of Langley is quite low. It’s also low in the township,” Young said. “Frankly, people will go hungry if we’re not here.”

Food Banks BC Executive Director Laura Lansink says the people who comes to Sources aren’t necessarily who you think they are. Fewer than two per cent of its clientele are homeless.

WATCH: Langley food bank on the verge of becoming homeless

Click to play video: 'Langley food bank on the verge of becoming homeless.' Langley food bank on the verge of becoming homeless.
Langley food bank on the verge of becoming homeless – Feb 16, 2019

“It is people like you and I,” Lansink said. “They are seniors, working people. Most of the people there are working two to three jobs, or perhaps are on disability because of an illness.

“The misconception comes when people think [food bank clientele] is an undesirable demographic. This is not the case. These are people that we are interacting with every day, people whose children go to school with your children.”
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Since last quarter, Sources has seen over 1,100 new registrants, 400 of them children.

After looking for a new home for eight years, the Surrey Food Bank recently decided to partner with a local church.

Executive Director Feezah Jaffer says purpose-built facilities might soon be the only answer.

READ MORE: Happy ending after thieves target Surrey food bank

“We’re not just food banks anymore,” Jaffer said. “Our clients have so many challenges and issues they have to deal with. We as the food bank need to facilitate those opportunities to connect.”

Sources Langley Food Bank says it has been contacted by real estate agents who have offered to help them find a space. Ideally, they need up to 8,000 square feet with enough room for storage and a storefront to serve clients.

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