New hygiene facility opens in Surrey

The Healthy Living Complex of Care offers support to people experiencing homelessness

The City of Surrey opened the hygiene facility at the Cove shelter site at 10607 King George Blvd late last year. (Submitted)

The City of Surrey opened the hygiene facility at the Cove shelter site at 10607 King George Blvd late last year. (Submitted)

On Nov. 24, the City of Surrey opened the Healthy Living Complex of Care, a hygiene facility at the Cove shelter site at 10607 King George Blvd. The facility is operated by the Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) and is open every day of the week from 6:00 am to 12:00 am. 

The temporary modular facility offers safe and dignified access to a washroom, shower, laundry, respite services, and supports the health, hygiene, and well-being of community members facing homelessness and other challenges. The facility also has a drop-in centre with services for six people to access at a time. 

The facility provides access to community connection workers offering free administrative services such as assistance with BC Housing applications, income assistance applications, rental subsidies, and income tax filing. There is access to a private office, a lounge area, a computer workstation, and a phone. The facility also has an outreach driver available by appointment to help people in the community commute. 

The Cove shelter offers 42 beds, a common kitchen and social area, a backyard, and an overdose prevention site. It also provides continental breakfast and dinner to the guests. 

“We also have case workers on site at all times that are available to help with things like applying for identification, helping to get on income assistance, working with any sort of medical referrals that they’re needing, getting them connected to community teams within Fraser Health and referrals to other sites, including shelters and supportive housing,” says Colton Sandberg, program coordinator at Cove-Healthy Living. 

The facility is one of the initiatives under the Pandemic Response Package funded by the federal government’s Safe Restart Agreement and administered through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ (UBCM) Strengthening Communities’ Services program.

“It’s a place where people can access our facilities, have a dignified experience and feel welcomed, where they’re able to have a shower, clean up, get a nice hot coffee, a snack, and warm up from the elements,” Sandberg says.

The initiative came about as a result of a joint project between the City of Surrey and SUMS. 

The shelter accepts donations of food, used clothes, shoes, and toiletries. SUMS provides about 2,500 meals to people affected by poverty, addiction, or other problems. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the society established an emergency response center to provide a place for those impacted by the pandemic, and currently hosts three shelters in the Whalley area operating 24-hours a day. 

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