Homes for the homeless

It has been a much-needed facility for a long time and the My Place apartments officially opened Thursday.

Located at 3500 27th Ave., the four-storey modular apartment building has 52 units, with three dedicated to people with disabilities.

Each unit is private with a washroom and kitchenette.

The ground floor includes a commercial-sized kitchen, common dining area, laundry facilities and support-service rooms.

Randene Wejr, co-executive director of Turning Collaborative Society, said the building is expected to be full by July 1.

The society will operate the building and provide residents with meal programs, life and employment skills training and access to health and wellness support services.

"A safe home is a critical foundation for recovery, while support services are the building blocks that give strength, purpose and hope so people experiencing homelessness can make a new start," said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. "The City of Vernon has shown leadership by leaning in to the challenges and working with us to help us build these life-changing homes for people."

Robinson said the province is not just creating places for people to live, but is helping them deal with mental health and addiction issues that may be holding them back.

“We are still the only province in the entire nation that has a minister responsible for mental health and addiction,” said Robinson, adding having a home is a very important step in recovery.

“We recognize that it certainly contributes when you're homeless, it certainly contributes to your mental well being.”

Wejr said My Place will have 24-hour staffing as well as mental health and addiction programs.

She said My Place may not be the final stop for many residents who will integrate back into mainstream society, freeing up apartments to help others in need.

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