Kelly Fehr has a history in Vernon of being a community champion and is excited for the opportunity to continue this work in a new role.
Fehr, the co-executive director of Turning Points Collaborative Society, has announced he will seek a spot on Vernon council in the Oct. 20 municipal election.
Fehr has spent the last 11 years focused on housing, poverty and addictions recovery programs.
“Over the last month, the message to me has been loud and clear from numerous community members. We need your experience, sound judgment and careful consideration,” said Fehr, demonstrating a collaborative approach with stakeholders has resulted in a number of achievements for Vernon.
The recent highlights include:
• 11,000,000 dollar provincial investment into the community to establish temporary and permanent supported housing. This investment also creates employment for 27 full-time equivalent positions — 2018;
• The creation of a needed Sober Living Home (Haven Place) through fundraising. The home is designed to support people who completed addictions treatment. - 2017;
• Building strong relationships with philanthropists. $650,000 donation to create the Center for Community Collaboration – 2015, $240,000 donation to create sober living. - 2017;
• $175,000 annual Interior Health investment into supported recovery housing (Bill’s Place). - 2017.
Fehr vows to bring the same drive and commitment he has in his current role to the position of city councillor to represent all Vernon residents.
“Community safety and sense of safety is essential to a healthy Vernon,” he said. “It starts with supporting the RCMP and bylaw in addressing criminal elements and is quickly followed by getting houseless constituents off the street and into housing.
“Decisions must be grounded in best practice which is achieved through research. Council must take serious consideration into recommendations and fact-based data provided by experts, this includes; city staff, BC Housing and the health authorities. We must build strong and productive relationships with the funding bodies that have jurisdiction over health and housing.”
Fehr said the high cost of housing and low vacancy rates in Vernon have a substantial impact on recruiting and retaining employees for the business community, and places low and middle-income families in jeopardy. Healthy food and extracurricular activities for children quickly disappear, he said, when the majority of one’s income is allocated to housing.
“Council must make affordable housing a priority,” said Fehr. “The issues around the lack of residential treatment options and affordable housing are not just political issues they are humane community issues. I will address each topic that comes before council with the same passion and commitment I exhibit in my current non-government role.”