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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

‘Water Quality Advisory’ lifted for Prince Rupert

Some Prince Rupert residents are still under a ‘Boil Water Notice’

Liberals and Greens yet to announce North Coast candidates

North Coast candidates have until two weeks before the election to name contenders

Cullen confirmed as B.C. NDP candidate for Stikine despite party’s equity policy

Former Tahltan Central Government President Annita McPhee said the process made her feel “abused”

Planned upgrades didn’t go as planned

CityWest said a fibre-line break caused outages to all customers

B.C. reports 91 new cases as officials remain worried over ‘clusters of COVID-19

There have now been a total of 8,395 cases in B.C. since the pandemic began

Canada’s active COVID-19 cases top 10,000 as daily new cases triple over the past month

Dr. Tam repeated her warning to young people, who have made up the majority of recent cases

First 8 months of fatal overdoses in B.C. have now exceeded 2019 death toll

Nine people died every two days in August, BC Coroners Service data shows

Liberal effort to reset policy agenda panned by rivals as too much talk, not action

Trudeau said it’s ‘all too likely’ families won’t be able to gather for Thanksgiving next month

‘Show us the money’ for cannabis, local governments tell B.C.

Municipal tax, transit revenues falling as costs rise

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

‘It’s a boy’: Southern Resident killer whale calf born to J Pod is healthy, researchers say

J35 had previously done a ‘Tour of Grief,’ carrying her dead calf for 17 days

People ‘disgusted’ by COVID-19 election call, B.C. Liberal leader says

Andrew Wilkinson speaks to municipal leaders from Victoria

Horgan blasts B.C. Greens for refusing youth overdose detention

Lack of support key to B.C. election call, NDP leader says

Most Read