#SaveOurSanctuary: Take 5 Minutes to Defend Surrey’s Homeless Camp!

Surrey Bylaw Enforcement is threatening to displace over 50 homeless people, who are camping in a wooded area near Bridgeview, which campers call ‘Sanctuary.’ Wanda Stopa, a resident of the camp, says, “We have nowhere else to go. This is our home, it’s our sanctuary, and we won’t let them take it from us.”

The City of Surrey is relying on disingenuous excuses to justify the displacement, citing concern for campers’ safety. But time and again, homeless people attest that they are safer in their own self-managed communities, not scattered and isolated.

Homeless residents of Sanctuary Tent City are calling on supporters to speak out against the displacement and destruction of their home. Please take five minutes today to phone and email Surrey Bylaw Enforcement, and ask your contacts to do the same.

1. Make a Phone Call

Leave a message for the Acting Manager of Public Safety Operations, Kim Marosevich, at 604-591-4332. You can also reach Bylaw & Licensing Services at 604-591-4370 (dial 1). Here is a sample phone message:

Hello, my name is [ your name ]. This is a message for Kim Marosevich. I’m calling about the impending displacement of the homeless camp in Surrey, near Bridgeview. Displacing 50 people from this camp, when they have nowhere else to go, is inhuman. 

Tent cities save lives. This camp is a sanctuary for its homeless residents, and must remain standing until all campers have access to secure, permanent, and dignified housing. If the City of Surrey is concerned about fire and safety risks, they need to provide resources to mitigate these risks, such as fire extinguishers, water access, garbage pick up, and washroom facilities. 

Homeless campers are living in a state of fear and anxiety. They expect bylaw officers to show up at any moment, take everything they own, and destroy their home and community. I am calling for bylaw to publicly announce they will not dismantle Sanctuary Tent City until all of its residents have homes.

You can return my call at [ phone number ]. Thank you.

2. Send an Email

Email bylawcomplaint@surrey.ca. CC: mayor@surrey.ca; parks@surrey.ca (City Property); jami.searle@surrey.ca (Administrative Coordinator); and any other relevant email addresses. Here is a sample email:

Subject: Save Sanctuary Tent City! 

To the Surrey Bylaw Enforcement Office, 

I am emailing to express concern about the impending displacement of the homeless camp in Surrey, near Bridgeview. Displacing 50 people from this camp, when they have nowhere else to go, is inhuman. 

Homeless deaths in Surrey quadrupled between 2007 and 2016, and homeless people continue to die in the streets. Tent cities save lives. Time and again, homeless people attest that they are safer in community, not scattered and isolated. The homeless camp known as ‘Sanctuary’ must remain standing until all campers have access to secure, permanent, and dignified housing. If the City of Surrey is concerned about fire and safety risks, it should provide the resources required to mitigate these risks, such as fire extinguishers, water access, garbage pick up, and washroom facilities. 

Homeless campers are living in a state of fear and anxiety. They expect bylaw officers to show up at any moment, take everything they own, and destroy their home and community. I am calling for the Surrey Bylaw Enforcement Office to publicly announce that Sanctuary Tent City will not be dismantled until all of its residents have homes.

Sincerely, 

[ Your name ]

3. Post on Social Media

Tweet @cityofsurrey using the hashtags: #SaveOurSanctuary #SanctuaryTentCity. Share this call out with your networks. Follow @stopdisplacemnt on Twitter for live updates. 

You can also find us on Facebook and Instagram.