Surrey’s ‘SMART Cart’ Outreach Program pairs bylaw officers with social workers

SURREY is piloting a new mobile outreach program that will pair City bylaw officers with contracted social workers to support unhoused individuals in City Centre. These ‘SMART Cart’ teams will provide immediate support to move individuals towards housing and other needed support services.

During its Regular Council Meeting on Monday, Surrey Council voted to approve a contract with Lookout Housing and Health Society to supply trained and qualified community service workers as part of the SMART Cart teams for a period of one year, at a cost of $692,754.

“The ‘SMART Cart’ Mobile Outreach Project is one more example of Surrey’s innovative approach to supporting our most vulnerable citizens,” said Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum on Tuesday. “To make meaningful change, we must do things differently. Everyone deserves a roof over their head and to be treated with dignity. The SMART CART initiative is another example of how Council is prioritizing help to those who are most marginalized in our community.”

The ‘SMART Cart’ pilot project will build on the success of the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table (SMART). Led by the City and established in 2015, SMART connects individuals with critical supports and intervenes when they demonstrate acutely elevated risk. Since inception, 60% of cases have been successfully concluded because the overall risks have been lowered and connections to services have been made.

The new ‘SMART Cart’ program will augment this table’s work by providing mobile outreach services from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., providing referrals to SMART as well as other service providers and the BC Housing coordinated access referral system. The pilot is set to run through to July 31, 2023.

The ‘SMART Cart’ project is funded through the federal Safe Restart Agreement fund, which is being administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities through the ‘Strengthening Community Services’ grant program that makes funding available for projects to address COVID-19 impacts for vulnerable populations. The City, in partnership with BC Housing and Fraser Health, is implementing the first six projects of the Pandemic Response Program funded through the grant. Learn more about the Surrey Mobilization and Resiliency Table here.

In partnership with the Province, the City of Surrey is delivering on much-needed housing across the city. In 2021, a total of 139 Supportive Housing Units opened in Surrey. This year, another 387 Supportive and Transitional Housing Units will come on stream in Surrey. Read more about supportive housing projects in the City of Surrey here.