Homes for the homeless

For those who want to take a look at two planned building projects that are aimed at getting more people off of Vernon's streets, a neighbourhood open house is taking place next week.

BC Housing will be hosting the open house on Thursday, Nov. 30 from 4-7 p.m. at the Schubert Centre, 3505 30th Avenue.

“This open house will provide residents with an opportunity to learn more about the two projects and their operations,” said Rob Miles, the City of Vernon's long range planning manager.

City staff and some councillors will also be in attendance.

Just last week, the B.C. government announced it would be spending $11 million on the two projects, including a permanent modular-housing project at 27th Avenue and 35th Street which would provide 53 supportive housing units for people transitioning out of homelessness and a modular shelter with approximately 45 beds beside John Howard House on 43rd Street.

Work is expected to start in the new year.

All of the units will be operated by the John Howard Society of the North Okanagan. 

Just this past week, Coun. Juliette Cunningham attended an affordable housing conference in Vancouver and toured four different housing models.

“It was inspirational,” Cunningham said of the conference.

She said the information gleaned would be shared with the city's housing action team.

As tent cities sprang up around Vernon in recent years, Cunningham and other members of council, pressed the province for help.

There is hope the new units will make a big dent in the number of people sleeping rough, including during the warmer months of the year.

“I fundamentally believe the dignity of housing is they way forward in addressing the issues these people face,” said Cunningham. “The bottom line is, if we don't do anything, we'll still have homeless people and people with addictions.”

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