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

Brighter Day, a youth-led initiative based out of Volunteer Campbell River, is looking to connect seniors and youth with a new pen pal program to help make everyone more connected during this socially-distanced time. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
New pen-pal program looks to connect seniors and youth in Campbell River

Hope is to ‘make both parties feel less isolated through these challenging times’

As part of NSG, the Vancouver Foundation recently awarded a grant to an Abbotsford resident to organize a socially distanced driveway dinner party for neighbours to get to know each other. Grant applications for such projects can be made with the Campbell River Community Foundation before Oct.26, by residents of Sayward, Quadra and Campbell River. (Neighbourhood Small Grant photo)
Campbell River Community Foundation announces its first Neighbourhood Small Grants program

Grants up to $500 available for projects that comply with physical distancing guidelines from Campbell River, Sayward, Quadra among others

Village of Sayward
Mayoral candidates announced for Sayward ahead of Nov. 21 local byelections

The three positions that will be filled includes a mayor and two councillors

Campbell River Arts Council Executive Director Ken Blackburn was one of a dozen or so divers who took part in the McIvor Lake cleanup day put on by the Campbell River Tide Rippers dive club Oct. 4. Photo courtesy Campbell River Tide Rippers
Campbell River dive club takes 200kg of trash out of McIvor Lake

‘Sometimes we come across things that make you wonder what people were thinking’

Campbell River Hospice Staff practice Reiki with a client at the hospice. Photo supplied by Campbell River Hospice Society.
Campbell River Hospice Society holds fundraiser raffle

Two draws per week until mid-February

FILE – People wait in line at a COVID-19 testing facility in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday, August 13, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
167 new COVID-19 cases, 1 death recorded as B.C. enters 2nd wave

Three new healthcare outbreaks also announced

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Rio Tinto Alcan’s aluminum smelter at Kitimat competes against producers in the Middle East and Russia that have no carbon tax. (Rio Tinto)
B.C. carbon tax highest in Canada, export industries unprotected

B.C. NDP, B.C. Liberals say they’re looking at exemptions

(Pixabay)
Vancouver teacher suspended after swearing, touching students and complimenting underwear

McCabe touched students, including rubbing their backs and necks, touching their hair and hugging them

Chris Istace campaigning in Crofton. (Photo submitted)
Green Party’s Istace apologizes for remark about First Nations gaming grants being a ‘handout’

Island candidate determined to do better in thinking and communicating matters of reconciliation

Sails down, masks up for Ron and Sherry Pryde, who completed a 119 day journey that was supposed to be 70 days. (Zoe Ducklow)
Coast Guard towed rudderless sailors to Port Hardy hours before a powerful storm

Rudderless for a month, the couple zigzagged most the way home with “a few donuts and lazy-eights”

Most Read