Surrey – The City of Surrey and Surrey RCMP were recognized as “Heroes of the Homeless” at the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society annual awards event held last night at the Surrey Arts Centre. The Heroes of the Homeless Awards recognize those who have exceeded expectations and given generously of their time, talents and resources to make a difference for the homeless or those at-risk of homelessness in Surrey.
This year’s winners, the City of Surrey and Surrey RCMP were acknowledged for their proactive approach in implementing new solutions to improve the health and safety of the most vulnerable people in City Centre. The Surrey Outreach Team, part of the City Centre Response Plan, focused on relationship building and worked over a two year period to house those in need in the 135A Street area. Recipients of the award included City of Surrey staff Dr. Terry Waterhouse, Jas Rehal, Dave Berar and Ricky Nijjar, and Surrey RCMP members Superintendent Shawn Gill and Sergeant Trevor Dinwoodie.
Aileen Murphy, long-time Social Planner with the City of Surrey, was also recognized for her ongoing contributions, dedication and advocacy to address homelessness in Surrey. Board member, Councillor Judy Villeneuve presented the awards.
Last year’s winners included the Surrey Fire Fighters, Jen Temple with Trademark Group of Companies and Kevin Diakiw, a retired veteran journalist with the Surrey Now-Leader.
The Surrey Homelessness and Housing Society was established by Surrey City Council in 2007. At that time, the City allocated $9M from the City’s Affordable Housing Reserve Fund to start the Surrey Homelessness and Housing Fund. This was a response to the emerging trend of homelessness and lack of affordable housing in the City of Surrey. The society oversees the management and growth of the fund and makes recommendations about the awarding of grants.