Lack of shelters could leave Delta’s homeless out in the cold

B.C. Housing’s website shows no shelters of any kind in Delta. Delta's lone emergency shelter, located in Ladner, is not listed on the site.

Despite recent cold temperatures and snowfall, North Delta does not have an emergency shelter to help the homeless.

In fact, there are no shelters of any kind in Delta, at least according to B.C. Housing’s website. The closest facilities are located at either end of King George Boulevard, in Whalley and Newton. An emergency shelter operating out of the Ladner United Church is not listed on the site at all.

According to B.C. Housing, determining the need for shelters is a community-driven process formed by an ongoing dialogue between the provincial agency, municipalities and communities. In an emailed statement, B.C. Housing added that emergency and permanent shelters are available in Surrey for those in need.

But Kay Dennison, coordinator of the Delta Seniors Planning Team, said that North Delta is in need of both a shelter and a transition house for women and children.

“What we’re seeing is more people living in their cars and, if they happen to have one, living in their campers,” she said. “In our community, when you go into our parks, whether it’s Ladner, whether it’s North Delta or Tsawwassen, you can see where people have lived.”

The most recent Metro Vancouver homeless count in 2014 found 15 homeless people in Delta: five unsheltered and 10 sheltered. With the exception of White Rock, where volunteers only counted four, Delta had the lowest number of homeless observed. The next count will be conducted in 2017.

Dennison, who lives in North Delta, said that people who live in vehicles may move around so as not to be spotted, which can throw off the official count.

She said unlike in other Lower Mainland municipalities, Delta’s homeless population doesn’t necessarily form a unified community. “They are individuals, and we’re seeing – at the advocate’s office, and certainly I’ve seen it – the numbers are growing,” she said. “If you’re an individual on your own, you rely on the goodness of the churches, on non-profit agencies.”

Dennison took part in the 2014 count and saw evidence of homelessness down a slope in North Delta, under the abutments of a bridge.

“We knew that someone had been there, but they disappear when we do the count,” she said. “A neighbour came out and they said, ’Yes we know they’re here and we leave them food.’ They’re not bothering anyone, there’s just nowhere to go.”

In addition to those living in their cars, Dennison said a number of people are close to homeless, or are couch-surfing.

“The numbers are only the ones we can absolutely identify, but there’s a lot of people we’re not even aware of.”

She said the number of seniors becoming homeless is on the rise across the board and is fast becoming a crisis.

Delta Police public affairs coordinator Sharlene Brooks confirmed there are no emergency homeless shelters in North Delta, saying the department’s protocol would be to bring homeless individuals in North Delta to the closest and most accessible shelter in Surrey.

“This is not to say we don’t have any homeless people in our communities,” she said. “There would be access to shelters in our sur- rounding jurisdictions.”

Dennison said there is no quick fix to establishing a shelter or transitional housing, but that there still needs to be more federal and provincial funding in place to help.

“We wait until we have a massive problem and then we seem to stomp out fires like crazy, and it doesn’t work.”

Just Posted

North Delta Huskies honour former captain as provincial banner unveiled

NDSS’s championship win marks the school’s first senior boys provincial basketball title in 29 years

McCallum’s canal pitch took Surrey councillors by surprise

City government has more important issues pressing than building a canal, councillors say

Surrey RCMP conducting drug-related search warrant

Traffic closed in both directions on 128th Street, between 64th and 66th Avenue

Surrey-North Delta Meals on Wheels in ‘desperate’ search for new partner

Without a new kitchen found by Sept. 1, the charity says it won’t have food to deliver to those in need

Cloverdale Toastmasters celebrate 25 years of learning and laughter

Cloverdale club is a high achieving, yet laid-back Toastmasters group

VIDEO: ‘Avengers: Endgame’ to be re-released with new footage

‘Avatar’ holds global box office record at $2.788 billion, while ‘Endgame’ stands at $2.743 billion…

B.C. teen killed by falling tree near Victoria

Second youth also injured in freak incident during field trip at Camp Barnard near Sooke

Elias Pettersson wins Calder Trophy as NHL’s top rookie

Vancouver forward first Canuck to win award since Pavel Bure in 1992

FVRD chair calls B.C. incineration plan for Philippines waste ‘disturbing’

Metro Vancouver ‘uniquely capable’ of safely disposing of waste coming back to Canada, say officials

VIDEO: Acknowledging skeptics, finance minister vows to build Trans Mountain project

Bill Morneau said he recognizes ‘huge amount of anxiety’ in Calgary over future of oil and gas sector

Shovels could be in the ground on Trans Mountain by September, CEO says

Ian Anderson points to weeks likely required for NEB to reinstate 2016 regulatory record

Scorpion gives birth after hitching ride in B.C. woman’s luggage

A Vancouver woman inadvertently brought the animal home from a trip to Cuba

RCMP allows officers to grow beards

Members can now wear beards and goatees, as long as they’re neatly groomed

Girl, 10, poisoned by carbon monoxide at B.C. campsite could soon return home

Lucille Beaurain died and daughter Micaela Walton, 10, was rushed to B.C. Children’s Hospital on May 18

Most Read