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B.C. boosts Vernon’s affordable housing with motel purchase

With the purchase of the former Polson Park Motel, Vernon adds 29 units to its housing stock
The B.C. government announced March 31, 2022, it has purchased the former Polson Park Motel in Vernon to provide 29 permanent homes for people experiencing homelessness. (Google Street View photo)

Residents finding refuge from homelessness at Polson Park Motel no longer have to worry.

The B.C. government has purchased the Vernon motel to provide permanent homes for people experiencing homelessness.

The old motel on 24th Avenue is a two-storey building with 29 units, each fitted with a washroom and kitchenette. BC Housing has been leasing the motel as temporary housing for the community’s most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic since April 2020. Now, those currently living in the motel will be able to stay there.

“With this purchase, we are continuing to add to the significant efforts underway to ensure vulnerable people in Vernon have access to stable and permanent housing,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “Budget 2022 provides money for a new permanent housing plan so vulnerable people who have been living in temporary housing since the start of the pandemic will now have a permanent place to call home.”

Turning Points Collaborative Society has managed the motel since it began being used for temporary housing and will continue to operate the building. The society will provide residents with supports that include daily meals, life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources and access to addiction treatment and recovery services. Full-time staff will provide residents with around-the-clock support.

“As we slowly come out of the pandemic, we recognize that the need for affordable housing services in Vernon is greater than ever,” said Randene Wejr, executive director at Turning Points Collaborative Society. “Inflation, the lack of affordable housing units and a growing waitlist have meant more and more families and seniors are on the verge of homelessness. We are extremely grateful to BC Housing for adding these 29 units to our permanent housing stock in Vernon.”

The province’s 2022 budget includes $264 million over three years to help ensure the roughly 3,000 people who were temporarily housed during the pandemic do not slip back into homelessness.

“The establishment of more affordable permanent housing is critical for our community to continue addressing a growing need of our residents,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “The city is grateful to BC Housing for securing these units and to Turning Points Collaborative Society for the ongoing, impactful support it provides to local residents who are living in vulnerable housing circumstances, including many families and seniors.”

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Brendan Shykora
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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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