A couple dozen people gathered in a Surrey park Sunday afternoon to remember those who lost their lives while living in a homeless camp.

"They're not just friends, they're family — a big dysfunctional family. I'd like to be able to say goodbye to them and this is my way of showing that they're not forgotten," said Wanda Stopa, a former tent city resident.

They gathered at Grosvenor Road Park, just a short distance away from notorious "Surrey Strip" along 135A Street, which was the epicenter of opioid crisis in the city. In 2017, paramedics responded to more than 550 overdose and poisoning calls along that stretch alone.

In June of the following year, more than 160 tent city residents were moved into temporary modular housing or shelters.

Homeless advocates paint a bleak picture, saying there were at least 600 homeless people in the city at that time.

"A lot of those people never made it to those mods, as minimal as they are," said Dave Diewert with Anti-Police Power Surrey. "A lot people are just surviving in shelters. They get kicked out at nine in the morning and at that point, they're roaming the streets until seven at night when they can get back in. They remain homeless until this day."

Stopa is back on the streets after moving from shelter to shelter.

She said she prefers that to living in modular housing, which she calls a glorified jail cell.

"I had one friend sit in her modular home for 12 hours, dead before anyone went and checked on her," Stopa said.

Diewert said the homelessness crisis is still around, but hidden.

"This has been a project to clear people off the strip, to render them invisible in order to have a massive redevelopment gentrification by the city for this whole area," he said.

Outreach workers have found those who have been moved out of the Surrey Strip face isolation and crave the community they once had.

"A roof is just not enough, I think it needs to be more support services in place so you can provide counselling and trauma counselling and you can help people recognize why they're there in the first place — it isn't a quick fix," said MaryAnne Connor, of NightShift Street Ministries.

Government officials and the RCMP said the homeless camps along 135A Street may be gone, but they are continuing to work on issues related to homelessness, addiction and mental health across the city.

"Thanks to the hard work of our incredible partners, 160 people have the comfort and security of a home," said B.C. Minister of Housing Selina Robinson in a news release. "We know there's more work to do and will continue to address the need for supportive housing here and in communities throughout the province."

Surrey RCMP said the detachment launched its Police Mental Health Outreach Team, which is an amalgamation of its outreach and mental health intervention units, in March.

"When 135A changed, we changed," said Sgt. Trevor Dinwoodie in a news release. "I believe the innovative, relationship-focussed approach of the Surrey Outreach Team certainly helped to stabilize the 135A area, however we realized that continuing this same type of approach with the addition of mental health services could benefit other areas of the city as well."

Police said a collaborative approach with those in social services and health care is necessary.

Connor called the collaboration a positive first step.

"The mere fact that we are staying in the trenches, we are connecting with people and we are working together is a huge part of the solution," she said.