Update: Two of our members have signed up to appear before WR City Council on Mon. Feb. 22. Please keep them in prayer, and perhaps join the meeting online to be "present" with them. The meeting will be streamed live on the city web site: https://www.whiterockcity.ca/
Please support for our vulnerable neighbours by writing to both Surrey & White Rock City councils asking them to open emergency warming centres.
Please share this appeal with your friends and neighbours, and share this link on social media:
Please send messages to these city councilors:
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Here are two templates for your letter/message...
Dear Mayor and Council,
I have been a volunteer for the Emergency weather shelter for 4 years. I collect, sort, organize and stock the coat rack and shelves with gloves, underwear, hats, socks and warm outerwear.
The guests at the shelter are well provided for from 8pm to 7 am.
From my warm, comfortable living room I cannot help but wonder what our guests are doing to stay safe, warm and dry during the day. The guests are our neighbours.
I request that White Rock & Surrey provide a a dry and safe site for daytime. This is the decent thing to do. Volunteers will step up to do whatever volunteers can do.
Dear Mayor and Council,
As I sit typing in my warm home I am acutely aware of how cold it is outside. I am also acutely aware that due to Covid many of the usual places where homeless people can gather for hours in Rec Centres and Libraries now have very strict occupancy times as do McDonalds, Tim Hortons and other fast food restaurants.
Where can folks keep warm? Perhaps you are wondering about that too.
About the 34 people who are currently coming to Peace Portal Alliance Church for a safe warm refuge at 8 pm. Our church, Peninsula United, has coordinated the Extreme Weather Shelter in South Surrey/White Rock for many years (currently hosted by Peace Portal Church), but we have never been so afraid for the safety and literally the lives of our homeless guests as we are now.
40% of our emergency shelter guests are seniors.
As you may know, guests must leave the Shelter at 7 in the morning. They receive a one way bus ticket and a $10 food card. That does not last long.
Vancouver is opening warming centres in their buildings right now during the cold spike in weather (Vanc Aquatic Centre/Britannia) It is part of their emergency action plan to supplement existing Shelter spaces.
Does Surrey/White Rock City have such a plan?
There are no “drop in” centres that are open most days here in South Surrey/White Rock due to Covid. Surely there are City owned spaces which are currently available.
All that is needed is a room, some chairs/tables and heat. Options may be able to help with staffing....it seems that Vanc has a plan for staffing their centres.
I know there is an emergency planned space in White Rock. Could this be used for this temporary emergency? If this is not an emergency I don’t know what is.
I realize there are challenges and concerns, but this is a humanitarian emergency. The churches are doing their part; it would be wonderful if the Cities of Surrey and White Rock could help the most needy in the community by providing a warm space in the daytime for a limited time.
I believe “where there is a will there is a way” and that way does not always mean that the churches have to provide all the help. The City has an important role to play in keeping everyone, especially the vulnerable safe and especially during Covid times.
Please consider this urgent plea and act swiftly.