Radical Renovation at Surrey Urban Mission
This building, called the “Cove” houses 42 people, providing hot showers, laundry, meals, overdoes prevention, and community connection services. But it is also a unsightly for the neighbourhood and needs a transformation to better serve clients as they transition to recovery and permanent housing.
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Homelessness, addiction, mental health and food insecurity are key issues in Surrey and across BC.
Part of the solution is to have facilities and programming that transitions people into recovery and permanent housing. The Surrey Urban Mission Society (SUMS) hosts four shelter locations that operate 24 hours/day.
One of these four locations is the “Cove,” a shelter space that houses 42 people (14 women and 28 men). Of these guests 25% are fragile seniors, and 20% are indigenous. The facility provides hot showers, laundry, meals, overdose prevention, and community connection services.
The current building is unsightly for the neighbourhood. It has grey cinderblock walls, a dilapidated front awning, chain-link fence, and an asphalt yard space. Inside, staff capacity for health and support work is hampered by operational spaces that are not properly separated and result in interrupted workflows and a lack of privacy.
Guests attempt to seek shelter and security in the yard space, but it lacks sufficient facilities to protect them from the elements with limited resources to support most activities. The overall aesthetic does not help the guests feel a sense of hope or pride in themselves or environment as they strive to better their lives. There are overwhelming opportunities to make these spaces supportive of increased programming with aesthetics that reflect the positive work being done.
The purpose of this Radical Renovation it to change the Cove for several key impacts:
- Change the building in ways that bring about a more supportive coexistence with neighbours.
- Provide flexible meeting and gathering spaces, ensuring guests can connect to each other and more services such as life skills, art therapy, physical exercise and other health-related activities.
- Design spaces that engender a sense of belonging, dignity and self-respect.
To achieve these impacts, our plan is to change four key areas of the site.
The Courtyard – Re-orientate the space so garbage and utility vehicles no longer drive through community spaces; build a series of gazebos that provide distinct gathering spaces for different kinds of programming and connection; provide greening and raised garden beds; create a physical exercise sports area; better storage for belongings and pet care.
Building Interior – Renew bathroom areas for dignity of hygiene; repaint offices, common and main areas.
Cove Healthy Living – Install a new bathroom for increase capacity and services to homeless populations, as well as additional greening and aesthetics.
Learn about how the Surrey Urban Mission is a bridge to hope in the Whalley community.
HeroWork and all the volunteers rock! So wonderful to see the community work together and make positive changes to our neighbourhood. Thank you!
As a long time volunteer with the Rainbow Kitchen and janitor for the church for a number of years, I am awestruck.
It was a privilege to work with this group of amazing people. I look forward to the next project.
Great to see all the amazing effort that’s gone into this transformation and kudos to everyone who stepped in to help others.