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Vernon  

Families are facing the prospect of being homeless in Vernon

'A very serious problem'

Brandy Mellows has never been busier.

Her job with Turning Points Collaborative Society in Vernon is to keep people housed, and with the extreme lack of available rental units in the North Okanagan, it is no easy task.

The problem is becoming critical for many people, including single parents who are trying to keep a roof over their children's heads.

Mellows sees the devastation the tight rental market has every day, and things are getting worse.

With a one-bedroom apartment renting for upwards of $1,500 and a full house going for thousands a month, Mellows said more people, including families, are at risk of being homeless.

“We had a lot of people living in hotels with kitchens throughout the winter and now that prices have switched to the summer rate, it's just not feasible,” said Mellows. “This is a very serious problem. We are getting calls every day from single parents.

“They show up to try to rent a place and there is a line up of 20 people trying to rent the same place.”
And of course, whoever has the most money will most likely get the rental unit, leaving many with few options.

Mellows said a lot of those seeking accommodations are working – some with more than one job – but they still often can't afford the high rental rates.

Turning Points operates the Homeless Prevention Program and Homeless Outreach Program to assist people in finding a place to live. They also actively guide them through the steps required to find a home.

“The problem is there is just nowhere for them to go,” said Mellows, adding the situation has become dire for many families.

For anyone needing help finding a home, call Turning Points at 250-542-3555.

Mellows said BC Housing is continuing to fund housing at some hotels in town, but it is only a temporary measure.

“We have moved quite a few families in to keep them housed,” said Mellows.



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