Organizing in Surrey
In Surrey, just like everywhere else in BC, homelessness continues to rise as incomes fall behind skyrocketing rents, governments refuse to build permanent social housing, and vacancy rates plummet. Under these conditions, a homeless encampment emerged along 135A Street in Surrey. Hundreds of people lived in a state of abject poverty for years, and their visibility exposed the deep inequality and injustice at the heart of the social order. The City of Surrey responded with an “Outreach Team” made up of cops and bylaw officers. This was a strategy of containment, surveillance, and punishment of those whose lives and daily survival are seen as a threat to the interests of property-owners and businesses. This strategy continues, even now that the strip has been cleared of tents—in fact, homeless people say that police harassment has escalated. Surrey continues to fund the RCMP to criminalize poor and homeless people, rather than directing resources at the root causes of poverty.
In Surrey, Alliance Against Displacement is fighting for affordable, adequate, accessible, and secure housing, and against the ever-expanding power of cops, courts, and prisons.