09:00 AM

Province purchases Vernon motel to help ensure people remain housed

VERNON - The Province, through BC Housing, has purchased the former Polson Park Motel in Vernon to provide 29 permanent homes with supports for people at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

"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."

The former motel, located at 3201 24th Ave., is a two-storey building with 29 units, each with its own washroom and kitchenette. Since April 2020, BC Housing has been leasing the motel as temporary housing for vulnerable people during the COVID-19 pandemic. By purchasing the motel, current residents will be able to remain in the building.

Turning Points Collaborative Society, which has managed the site since April 2020, will continue operating the building. The society will provide residents with support services, including 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, 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 purchase is part of the Province's new permanent housing plan. Budget 2022 commits $264 million over three years to ensure the approximately 3,000 people who were temporarily housed during the COVID-19 pandemic do not return to homelessness.

"The establishment of more affordable permanent housing is critical for our community to continue addressing a growing need of our residents," said Victor Cumming, mayor, City of Vernon. "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."

Since 2017, the Province has funded more than 32,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including more than 530 homes in Vernon.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province, through BC Housing, is investing $2.6 million to purchase and renovate the former Polson Park Motel.
  • An independent appraisal of the site was completed in February 2022 and supports the purchase price, which is below the appraised value.
  • BC Housing will also provide an annual operating subsidy of approximately $1 million.

Learn More:

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/