Unceded and Occupied Kwantlen, Musqueam, Katzie, Semiahmoo, Tsawwassen, Qayqayt & Kwikwetlem Territories
Red Braid began organizing in Surrey in 2015 alongside residents of the 135A Street “Surrey Strip.” Some referred to the Strip as a tent city, while others called it an “outdoor prison” because of the intense harassment and surveillance they faced from the “Surrey Outreach Team” – a team of 12 police and four bylaw officers, established to patrol the Strip 24/7. In June 2018, the City of Surrey erected 160 ATCO trailer rooms and cleared the Surrey Strip of tents. Some residents were moved into the modular housing, others into shelters, and the rest were scattered across Surrey. Former residents of the Strip established Sanctuary Tent City in June 2019, defending it from displacement pressures until December, when the City of Surrey bulldozed the camp.
Leaders that emerged out of these struggles continue to organize for homeless survival and power as leaders of the June 8th Network.
Updates and Events
Residents named the new tent city "Whalley World" in honour of the low-income neighbourhood that the City of Surrey is trying to rebrand and sell off to developers. People are tired of watching luxury condo towers go up while their friends are evicted to the streets, and they are fighting back!
On Saturday June 20th, residents of Whalley are rallying on 135A Street, the former site of the tent city known as the Surrey Strip, against Mayor McCallum’s plan to push low-income residents out of the neighbourhood and hand Whalley over to the rich.
After living in their apartment for seven years, Michelle and her partner are facing an imminent eviction. Their building was sold at the end of March for $3.4 million. "They want to throw us out in the middle of a pandemic with no time to find a place," says Michelle.
On April 1st, homeless activists launched the Hothouse Squat. They call for for poor and homeless communities all over the province to take over vacant buildings as part of the #SQUAT2SURVIVE movement, in an act of militant self-defense from COVID-19.
Five homeless people lost their belongings when police and bylaw officers raided their tents this morning. “They left us with nothing but the clothes on our backs,” said one of the victims of the raid.
Tent city residents worry that the City of Surrey will use "fire safety" concerns to justify displacement, which would ultimately undermine campers' safety.