New supportive homes open for people in need in Penticton


October 3, 2019

PENTICTON – People experiencing homelessness in Penticton are moving into their new homes, as a 62-unit permanent modular project opens with around-the-clock care and supports.

“These new permanent homes with wraparound supports will help people heal from the experience of being homeless and give them a stable foundation on which to build a better life,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “Our government is proud to work with partners to provide people experiencing homelessness with the opportunity to move off the streets and into safe and secure homes.”

Located at 594 Winnipeg St., Burdock House is a newly completed four-storey modular building featuring 62 studio units, including four accessible units. Each of the units includes a private washroom and mini kitchen. The building also includes communal space for counselling and community meetings, a multi-purpose room, commercial kitchen and dining room. Outdoor amenities include a gazebo, bike and cart storage, and a pet-friendly running area.

ASK Wellness Society, an experienced non-profit housing operator, will operate Burdock House and provide residents with 24/7 on-site staff and support services. These include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.

“On behalf of ASK Wellness Society, we are honoured to have worked with the City of Penticton and BC Housing to bring this vital housing facility to the community,” said Bob Hughes, executive director, ASK Wellness Society. “Sixty-two people who have lived without housing will now have a safe, supportive and affordable home to begin the journey to reclaim their health and connection to community. Penticton has waited years for this type of housing and we are proud to work with our community partners to make this project a tremendous success through support, clinical services and old-fashioned care and compassion.”

“Penticton City Council is delighted to see this long discussed and highly anticipated housing project completed,” said John Vassilaki, mayor, City of Penticton. “Access to supportive housing for those in need supports council’s priority of building a safe, secure and healthy community. The opening of Burdock House, combined with the amenities, services and staff resources it provides its residents, will go a long way in providing a quality solution to Penticton’s housing challenge.”

Penticton’s own Metric Modular was selected by the Province to manufacture the modular units for Burdock House and several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and the local economy. The name Burdock House was chosen by ASK Wellness Society to represent the native plant that grows in the area.

Residents started moving in at the end of September 2019. The priority for resident selection was given to people experiencing homelessness in the Penticton area. The building will be fully occupied later this month.

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • New reports show that supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness is substantially improving the quality of life for residents and reducing their use of emergency health services. The full reports and a summary of the results can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes-reports.
  • The Province invested $12.5 million for the land and construction costs and will provide an annual operating subsidy for the project.
  • The City of Penticton provided $288,496 in waived development cost charges.
  • The construction of supportive homes is expected to create more than 2,000 jobs throughout the province, which includes 1,400 direct jobs and another 650 jobs in supplier industries.
  • In just over two years, government has built more than 2,000 supportive homes, with over 800 more underway and a goal of 4,700 over 10 years.

Learn More:

Building BC: Rapid Response to Homelessness program: https://www.bchousing.org/partner-services/Building-BC/rapid-response-homelessness

For a map of the modular projects, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges

To find out more about ASK Wellness Society, visit: https://www.askwellness.ca

Two backgrounders follow.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-2433

Laura Mathews
BC Housing
604 439-8571

BACKGROUNDER 1

Services and supports provided for modular housing

All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.

The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants, based on their assessed needs.

Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness include:

  • both on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
  • supports that are tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental health and addiction treatment programs;
  • individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs;
  • meals;
  • case planning and needs assessment;
  • other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs;
  • help accessing income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account;
  • support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home; and
  • no-cost laundry services, either on- or off-site.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-2433

Laura Mathews
BC Housing
604 439-8571

BACKGROUNDER 2

Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs

The B.C. government is working in partnership to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.

Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 22,000 new homes are complete, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live — from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Aug. 31, 2019, this includes:

Housing for middle-income earners (households with annual incomes between $50,000 and $150,000) - approximately 4,120 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 1,500 rental homes for people with middle incomes.
  • HousingHub: approximately 2,620 homes.

Housing for people with low to moderate incomes (including some where rents are based on 30% of household income and others with set rents, which are designed to be affordable to moderate-income households, in most cases earning less than $70,000 annually) - approximately 9,320 homes:

  • Building BC: Community Housing Fund: approximately 3,700 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes.
  • Affordable Rental Housing Program: nearly 1,600 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Deepening Affordability Fund: more than 2,150 homes for low to moderate incomes.
  • Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: more than 1,170 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off-reserve.
  • Regional Housing First Program: more than 700 homes for people with low to moderate incomes.

Housing for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness (shelter-rate housing) - more than 3,060 homes:

  • Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,064 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: nearly 800 homes with 24/7 support.
  • Regional Housing First Program: more than 200 homes for those ready to live independently with supports.

Housing for women and children leaving violence - approximately 360 homes:

  • Building BC: Women's Transition Housing Fund: approximately 360 spaces of transition,
  • second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence.

Housing for students - approximately 5,600 homes:

  • BC Student Housing Loan Program: approximately 2,700 on-campus student housing units are underway or in the approvals process.
  • Nearly 2,900 student housing units are also underway or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions.

Total: approximately 22,460 homes

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Media Relations
778 584-2433

Laura Mathews
BC Housing
604 439-8571