Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo: Amy Reid)

Councillor says Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society board disbanded

Brenda Locke says the decision was a direction from mayor, council ‘to bring it in-house’

Surrey Councillor Brenda Locke says the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society “currently (has) no board members on the society.”

Locke, who was the board chair, said the board was not re-appointed following a recent closed council meeting.

Locke said it’s “unfortunate” the decision was made that way and there “should have been a discussion in open council.”

“It was a directive from mayor and council to not re-appoint the current directors,” she said. “I talked to mayor and he said he did not like the governance model. He wanted to bring it in-house.”

A spokesperson for the City of Surrey said Mayor Doug McCallum wouldn’t be commenting “as this matter was an item in Closed Council.”

She said it happened Thursday (June 25), following the society’s annual general meeting.

The board is made up of “high-profile people in our community,” Locke said, who “wanted to good work on social issues in Surrey.”

“They have done amazing work,” she noted. “It’s kind of devastating to be honest with you. I’m devastated and I certainly feel awful for those people that have worked hard over the year to support this organization.”

According to its website, the City of Surrey allocated $9 million from the city’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to seed the society. Its funds are managed by the Vancity Community Foundation.

The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society’s mission is to “raise, manage and distribute funds to support programs, projects and initiatives to make a difference in the lives of people who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness in Surrey.”

Asked what that means for the society, Locke said it has about $11 million in the Vancity trust and now “there’s no way of supporting those dollars.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, she said the society gave out $250,000 for relief to a “number of different agencies and community groups just to get them through COVID.”

“We did emergency fund grants and we gave granting opportunities for groups that needed money, especially to get them over difficult times.”

She added that the society was already planning on another granting opportunity in the fall if there is a second wave of the pandemic.

The society also has the Surrey Youth Assistance Fund, Locke said, which gives grants to youth-serving organizations and individual youth.

“All of that is on hiatus.”

READ ALSO: Mystery donor to triple donations to Surrey youth homelessness fund, June 26, 2020

Judy Villeneuve, former city councillor, said it was one of her goals during her time on council to “do something substantive” to help the homeless or those at-risk of homelessness in Surrey.

She was one of the people who spearheaded the society’s creation.

While she said she doesn’t have all the details on the board members not being re-appointed, Villeneuve said it “seems like a strange time to hold bck on a society at this particular time when there’s so much need for supporting homelessness services.”

If council’s decision is a “re-look,” Villeneuve said, then that could be good.

“But if the money’s not going to be used, then I don’t think that’s fair to the public.”

She added the board was set up to be transparent, and not political.

“There’s a lot of public contribution,” she said. “I do think they have to think carefully about what they do with this society and its funding.”

More to come.



lauren.collins@surreynowleader.com

Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram and follow Lauren on Twitter

City of SurreyHomelessHomelessnessSurrey

Just Posted

Surrey council chambers. (File photo)
Surrey council endorses ‘public engagement’ strategy

Council approves ‘Public Engagement Strategy and Toolkit,’ and a ‘Big Vision, Bold Moves’ transportation public engagement plan

Surrey City Hall. (File photo)
Surrey council approves $7.3 million contract for street paving projects

City council awarded Lafarge Canada Inc. $7,326,667.95 for 15 road projects in North Surrey and one in South Surrey

Surrey city Councillor Brenda Locke. (File photo)
Locke seeks breakdown on what Surreyites get for taxes paid to Metro Vancouver

Surrey councillor presented motion to council Monday asking city staff to do a cost/benefit analysis

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
SURREY NOW & THEN: Little Theatre’s 59-year history ends with big plans for move to Langley

A former church, the theatre building/property has sold for close to $900,000

Old trucks are seen in the yard at the B.C. Vintage Truck Museum in Cloverdale June 14, 2021. The Museum is reopening June 19 after a seven-month COVID closure. (Photo: Malin Jordan)
Cloverdale’s truck museum to reopen

B.C. Vintage Truck Museum set to open its doors June 19

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read