A Vernon warehouse off 25th Avenue is under construction before it welcomes its guests from the temporary emergency shelter at the curling club.
The 37th Street property, owned by BC Housing, is a short-term solution as its lease with Vernon Curling Club concludes at the end of September.
Our Place and Gateway Shelter sites combined under the curling club’s roof in early April as the province’s first to amalgamate shelters to better protect those experiencing homelessness from COVID-19. The curling club allowed for more physical distancing for clients and staff alike.
“All guests currently staying at the curling club will be offered a spot at the new shelter and will start moving once renovations are completed later this month,” BC Housing said in a statement.
Turning Points Collaborative Society will operate the new temporary shelter in the blue warehouse.
Staff will be onsite 24-7 to support up to 90 guests and manage daily operations. Daily meals, storage space, laundry and cleaning services will be provided onsite.
Interior Health will also provide health services onsite based on individual needs, the provincial agency said.
Neighbours, however, said they weren’t consulted properly in the process.
One area resident told the Morning Star he hadn’t heard of anything about the location being used as a temporary homeless shelter, and was surprised to hear of it first from a construction worker on-site only a week prior to getting notice from the province.
BC Housing informed nearby residents of its plans Wednesday, Sept. 9, with mailouts.
The temporary shelter at 2506-37th St. will be in operation until March 31, 2021, with funding from BC Housing. The use of this shelter could be extended if it is required.
“Recognizing that shelters are not a substitute for permanent housing, the province is also working with Turning Points Collaborative Society to build over 100 new permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in Vernon,” BC Housing said.
Two proposals for more than 100 new supportive homes are in the tubes as of mid-July.
The first development, at 2600-35th St., would add 52 homes with supports to the existing My Place — a 52-unit supportive housing building operated by Turning Points since July 2019. The second development slated for 2307-43rd St., would see the derelict Howard House shelter demolished and 50 new supportive housing units erected in its place.
If approved, the two developments would be operated by by Turning Points and provide residents with meal programs, life and employment skills training and health and wellness support services.