While sometimes overwhelmed, outreach worker has hope for Whalley Strip

SURREY (NEWS 1130) – Those who work with the homeless, the addicted and the mentally ill on an infamous stretch of road in Surrey say they are beginning to feel overwhelmed by the magnitude of the challenges.

MaryAnne Connor with NightShift Street Ministries knows a solution can’t come overnight for those struggling on the Whalley Strip.

“When people are out there and you see them in — particularly this time of year — in bad weather, and living in tents, and living in those conditions, seriously I think the human part of us want to take everybody home and give them a safe place to stay for the night.”

But Connor says that’s just not possible, and everyone knows it. But, any little thing that moves them closer to a solution is celebrated.

Connor says that includes the recent announcement of plans for modular homes for those without a roof over their head, but admits it’s only part of the solution.

“It’s not just a matter of taking people from a tent city and put them into housing. A there’s not enough affordable housing out there, but I think what’s even more important is to have the wrap-around services or the support services in place.”

While she and other advocates know they are doing the right thing, Connor admits it can be emotionally exhausting.

“It is really difficult not to be defeated and feel overwhelmed that every single day you just inch forward and do what you can to get someone off the Strip and into detox and into recovery.”

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