133 homeless housed

A consortium of Penticton social service providers have blown past its goal of housing 100 homeless people, but plenty more work remains.

100 Homes Penticton was before city council Tuesday for an update on their efforts to reduce chronic homelessness in the community.

The group is made up of more than a dozen organizations including the United Way, BC Housing, the Soupateria, the Salvation Army and more.

“Except for the fact that these people are homeless, it's great to exceed our goal,” Tanya Behardien said, explaining they have managed to house 133 people as of July.

The initiative launched in Sept. 2016 with a goal of housing 100 homeless by 2018.

The collaboration has taken a multi-faceted approach by gathering data through homeless counts and using outreach teams to link the vulnerable with resources.

One program, Rent Smart, puts people through a classroom-style course to help tenants understand their rights and responsibilities. The Rent Smart course then issues certificates that can be used as landlord references.

Rent Smart grads will also receive preferential placement from BC Housing.

Looking forward, Behardien said there is still a shortage of affordable rentals in Penticton. She said other cities have created a position within city hall, a “social development manager,” to focus on housing and homelessness.

100 Homes Penticton said they hope the city will consider creating a similar position in 2020.

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