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Doors opened to 35 new Indigenous homes in Vernon

Second phase of Thunderbird Manor complete

They keys are being turned on more affordable housing for Indigenous individuals, families and Elders living in Vernon.

The second phase of Thunderbird Manor Phase II has opened 35 new doors at the 27th Avenue complex, much to the delight of three-time cancer survivor Robert Rossignol, 73, and his wife, Cheryl.

The couple moved into the new building Dec. 1.

“It’s just so easy to get around,” said Rossignol of his new digs. “It makes it easy for me and my wife. It’s just very comfortable.”

Rossignol expressed his thanks to the announcement Tuesday, May 21. Among the dignitaries saluting the grand opening was B.C. housing minister Ravi Kahlon.

“Through the Indigenous Housing Fund, we’re partnering with Indigenous non-profit housing providers, First Nations and other Indigenous organizations to create more homes like this that meet the needs of Indigenous families and individuals on and off reserve,” said Kahlon.

The new five-storey building provides one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes for Indigenous peoples with moderate and low incomes. Nine of the homes are fully accessible for people living with disabilities. The remaining 26 homes are adaptable, accommodating older residents who wish to continue living in their homes as they age.

“Our government has been making significant investments address housing needs, including more than 600 homes in Vernon,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “By providing more affordable housing options, we’re ensuring Vernon remains livable, with homes specifically created for Indigenous families.”

Three of the studio apartments will be reserved for young people, from 16 to 19, who live independently. The homes, which received funding under the Ministry of Children and Family Development Services Agreement, are intended to support young people in the community, while offering additional counselling resources.

Owned and operated by the Vernon Native Housing Society, the new units twin the first phase of Thunderbird Manor.

“Combined, these 73 units provide housing for Indigenous families, seniors and Elders, youth, and individuals and families with mobility challenges,” said Valerie Chiba, Vernon Native Housing Society president. “We are so pleased to add these stunning buildings to our housing programs.”

With high costs and rental housing supply at a low, Okanagan Indian Band Chief Byron Louis says this is a great start.

“However, there is always room for more affordable living initiatives for Indigenous Peoples.”

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Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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