Overview of Housing Strategies

In 2006, Vernon City Council and the wider community identified the need to adequately address the issues of homelessness and affordable housing. The social and economic impact on the community as a whole was too great to be ignored. Previous to 2006, local non-profit agencies had attempted to meet the growing demand on their services but recognized that they were fighting a losing battle. 

A collaborative approach was developed to Under One Roof attainable housingensure that gaps along the complete housing spectrum were addressed. The Partners in Action Committee created and pursued the Homelessness Strategy and the City of Vernon’s Affordable Housing Committee developed and implemented the Attainable Housing Strategy. The two groups work in conjunction to increase the number of non-market “affordable” housing for vulnerable populations (the Partner’s mandate) and market “attainable” housing for low to moderate income earners (the City’s mandate).

Homelessness Strategy for the North Okanagan

Since it was adopted by the Partners in Action Committee in March of 2007, the majority of the recommendations have been implemented. In particular, the opening of the Gateway Shelter and the provincial government’s commitment to funding a variety of outreach workers has dramatically increased the non-profit sector’s capacity to assist the homeless. The last and most crucial focus of the strategy is to secure permanent supported housing for this vulnerable population. Without this piece, it is virtually impossible to break the cycle of homelessness.

Attainable Housing Strategy

This strategy was unanimously supported by Vernon City Council in January of 2008. The majority of the strategy focuses on policy changes that encourage the development of multi-family housing. The document does recognize that while the city cannot build and manage supported housing, there are ways that the city can assist the non-profit sector in their specific housing goals. In particular, the municipality can negotiate partnerships with senior levels of government that ensure this community receives the funding necessary to address the housing needs of those at risk of homelessness.

Successful Collaborative Approach

New Homes ConstructionBoth committees continue to work together to ensure all the housing gaps in the community are addressed. As a result of this approach, Okanagan Homes Magazine recently identified the City of Vernon as having addressed the issue of affordable housing “the best” in the Okanagan.

Supporting Documents

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