Shelley Kiefiuck, site manager of My Place, shares the success of the supportive housing building one year since it first opened its doors. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Expectations exceeded in first year of Vernon supportive housing project

WATCH: Success stories from My Place residents shared to mark milestone

Removing the homeless from the harsh elements of the streets and putting a roof over their head is proving to be making a world of difference.

My Place, the supportive housing facility at 2600 53th St., is celebrating one year since opening its doors with stories of success.

“Supportive housing was a completely new concept to us at Turning Points,” site manager Shelley Kiefiuck said. “Honestly, the successes we have experienced here, they exceed what my expectations were or what I was thinking was going to happen.

“The importance of having a roof over their head, where they’re not in survival mode and they’re not worried about staying dry and keeping warm or having food in their belly, gives them the opportunity to address other areas of their life where they haven’t had the space or time to do that.”

The 52-unit facility has retained nearly 82 per cent of the initial residents who walked through the doors one year ago.

“There’s others who have moved onto to alternate housing — and that is the ultimate goal.”

But for some, it wasn’t a right fit. Some that have moved out required more mental health support than My Place could provide.

But each resident has been responsible for their own way, including their own success.

“With supportive housing, it’s not a free ride,” said Kiefiuck, who has been with Turning Points for 11 years.

“They pay rent, they have an expectation around creating service plans with staff. Expectations that they are doing everything they can to do the hard work.”

And the residents have done just that, proving they can be a good neighbour and a contributing member of the community.

“We need to give them a lot of credit for that,” Kiefiuck said.

For many, giving back is a huge part of the process, said Kiefiuck, who was born and raised in Enderby.

“Again, because they have the time and space it has given the ability, they’re advocates now for people who are still on the streets and are still struggling and feel like they’re hopeless and they have no where to go, nowhere to turn.”

And they also take pride in their new home.

“All the beautiful gardens and things that you see here, this is not staff, we don’t have a gardener, this is all the residents. There’s incredible pride in this facility itself.”

Having a place to call home has opened many doors for the residents.

“We’ve had folks that have been needing surgery for years, but how do you go have major surgery when you are being released into a camp?” questioned Kiefiuck.

“There are parents here who are needing that stable address and that stability themselves to be able to reach out and hopefully get their children back.”

With more than 250 people on the wait list to get into My Place, the recent news of additional supportive housing is welcomed.

READ MORE: 100 homes for Vernon homeless proposed

Especially since the issue of homelessness is not easing anytime soon.

“The biggest issue is housing affordability, it is the cost of living,” Kiefiuck said the main reason homelessness is becoming a larger issue. “But we see all kinds of things every day why people end up in the shelter — loss of a job, loss of a loved one, mental health issues, substance use issues.

“Try going without three paycheques,” she said. “You’re going to be in trouble.”

As Vernon builds on support for these individuals, Kiefiuck denies that others are flocking to the area in search of such support.

“The vast majority of the folks that are housed here have connections to the community of Vernon,” she said of those raised here or who have family here.

“It’s a very large percentage of people. Their roots are here,” Kiefiuck said. “They are from this community.”

READ MORE: Vernon Chamber calls for transparency on proposed supportive housing projects


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

homeless housing

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Reform taxes to bolster job growth in distilling: Vernon chamber says

Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce urges residents to push feds for tax reform

WATCH: Gas line struck in downtown Vernon

Firefighters, police on scene near 32nd Avenue — more to come

Vernon beer baseball league begins 2020 season

Okanagan Spring League welcomes expansion Rutland 67s, who open with two straight wins

Camp Day pours ahead at Tim Hortons despite COVID-19

All coffee and iced coffee sales, and bracelet purchases support sending kids to camp

Grindrod Garlic Festival shifts online

The 11th annual festival will run virtually from Aug. 16 to Sept. 15

Teachers to get 2 extra days to prepare for students’ return, now set for Sept. 10

Students will first start with orientation and learn rules of COVID-19 classroom policies

New Tory leader must build a strong team in Commons and for the campaign: Scheer

Scheer marked his final day in the House of Commons today as leader of the Opposition

South Okanagan restaurant ranked among world’s best by TripAdvisor

The Hooded Merganser was ranked within the top 10 per cent of all restaurants by TripAdvisor reviews

Highway 97 upgrade option for Peachland faces 20-year delay

Peachland council disappointed by highways department decision

Kelowna Hells Angels prospect charged with assault, choking

Jason Townsend, 43, was charged after allegedly choking a woman last weekend

B.C. to hire 500 more COVID-19 contact tracers ahead of fall

Contract tracers add an ‘extra layer’ in the fight against the novel coronavirus

Summerland council to examine meeting options

Present livestreaming has been plagued with sound quality issues

Feds commit $305M in additional funds for Indigenous communities during COVID-19

Money can be used to battle food insecurity and support children and mental health

Floating concert to shake Shuswap Lake

Pair of bands booked to play floating concert at the Sea Store on Sept. 5

Most Read