New housing for homeless in the Okanagan

Vernon’s Howard House expanding with 45-bed shelter plus a 53-unit supportive housing project announced

  • Nov. 15, 2017 1:30 p.m.

People who are homeless or at risk of homelessness in Vernon will soon have access to supportive housing thanks to a partnership between the province of B.C. and the City of Vernon to develop two new modular-housing projects in the community.

“We know there’s an urgent need to address homelessness in Vernon and communities throughout British Columbia,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These modular projects will make an incredible difference in the lives of vulnerable people in the city who are struggling to find and maintain stable housing.”

The B.C. government is allocating approximately $11 million toward the two projects, which will be operated by the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan.

A new, permanent modular-housing project will be located on land owned by BC Housing at 27th Avenue and 35th Street, which will provide 53 supportive housing units for people transitioning out of homelessness. These will be self-contained units with personal kitchens and washrooms.

This is part of the province’s commitment to build 2,000 modular units throughout B.C. over two years, working in partnership with local governments who are interested in modular housing in their communities.

“With these new units, 98 people in Vernon will have safe, warm shelter and supports,” said Shane Simpson, Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Getting housing and support services to help people stabilize on the ground in communities is critical. I want to thank our community partners for coming forward and working with us to get this project underway. These units will make a real difference for people in Vernon.”

A new permanent modular shelter with approximately 45 beds will also be constructed at 2307 43rd Street to expand capacity of the current homeless shelter and transitional housing development at Howard House.

“We’re pleased to see the province step up to address homelessness with support to deliver these modular housing units in Vernon,” said Akbal Mund, mayor of Vernon. “We applaud the Province’s efforts to create more safe and secure housing options that support some of Vernon’s most vulnerable citizens.”

Vernon follows Vancouver as the second B.C. community to include modular housing as part of a solution to help address homelessness.

“The announcement of modular housing projects in Vernon is a significant milestone for us,” said Kelly Fehr and Randene Wejr, co-executive directors of the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan. “We’re pleased to be partnering with the Province to provide supportive housing to those in need.”

The province continues to work with a number of communities across B.C. to determine locations for additional modular housing. Announcement in Terrace and Prince Rupert were also made Wednesday.

The B.C. government is allocating $170 million over three years to ensure all the new modular-housing buildings in the province have 24/7 staffing.

Experienced non-profit housing providers will be selected to operate the modular buildings.

Tenants will be provided with support based on their assessed need.

Some examples of services and supports include:

  • Meals;
  • Connecting residents to community supports, such as education and employment opportunities and health and wellness services;
  • Individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information, and social and recreational programs;
  • Case planning and needs assessment;
  • Other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally-specific programs;
  • Assistance to access income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
  • Support for residents to maintain their home, such as room decluttering, rent payment, and repayment plans; and
  • No-cost laundry services, either on-site or off-site.

@VernonNews
newstips@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

OPINION: Ten signs that Port Alice has changed

“Right now, our lack of amenities is holding back economic growth in our village”

Striking Western Forest Products workers could lose benefits in September

Union, forest company at odds over Vancouver Island benefit payments as strike enters third month

Port McNeill council discusses ‘bear aware’ and what you can do to stay safe

Port McNeill’s Conservation Officer Brad Adams gave a presentation about being ‘bear aware’.

Port Hardy RCMP release tips to prevent fraud and theft from vehicles

In many of the incidents reported, “the vehicles that were broken into were unlocked.”

Stranded hikers rescued by helicopter on Mt. Schoen

Campbell River Search and Rescue used hoist operation to rescue trio

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

VIDEO: Ride to Conquer Cancer rolls into Hope

Thousands of cyclist descend on small town for annual cancer fundraiser

Island murder victim’s mom expresses outrage over mental fitness decision of the accused

Smith vows to keep fighting until justice served for Descoteau

B.C. VIEWS: Pipelines set to roll as federal politicians posture

Projects to drive B.C., Canadian economy in years ahead

B.C. Lions fall to 1-9 after 13-10 loss to Ticats

Lowly Leos have dropped six straight CFL contests

VIDEO: B.C. woman meets biological mother, 38 years later

Mother never gave up hope of finding daughter, despite all the obstacles

B.C. man who died after rescuing swimmer was known for helping others

Shaun Nugent described as a dad, a coach, a hero and ‘stand-up guy’ at celebration of life

B.C. RCMP plane chases fleeing helicopter as part of major cross-border drug bust

The helicopter eventually landed at a rural property near Chilliwack

Vancouver Island man dead after reported hit-and-run incident

Oceanside RCMP seek public’s help gathering information

Most Read