Village Green Hotel manager Jay Rosenberger is starting a pilot project to provide affordable housing for those who need it. (Brendan Shykora - Morning star)

Village Green Hotel manager Jay Rosenberger is starting a pilot project to provide affordable housing for those who need it. (Brendan Shykora - Morning star)

Okanagan hotel manager plans to turn spare rooms into affordable housing

Village Green Hotel’s Jay Rosenberger has been his own journey of recovery, and now wants to help

While the seasons change and the streets get colder, the reality of Vernon’s affordable housing shortage remains the same. That’s why a Vernon hotel manager plans to offer rooms to people in need of a chance to get on their feet.

After Jay Rosenberger became the manager of the Village Green Hotel just a few months ago, it occurred to him that he could use his new position to help solve an issue that’s close to him. The hotel had just added some old office spaces to its bedroom inventory, and rather than turn them into more hotel rooms, he had the idea to rent the rooms at low cost to people fresh out of drug or alcohol recovery who are struggling to find a rental.

“The whole idea is basically to start off with one room, and then if it works, to provide some transitional housing to people who maybe are having a hard time in the community getting a long-term rental,” says Rosenberger. “It’s kind of going to be a little pilot project.”

Rosenberger and the rest of the Village Green management team are still ironing out the details, and he himself isn’t sure how the idea will manifest. But he’s willing to take a gamble to find out.

“Who knows how it’s going to go from there. It might blossom into where we’ve got quite a few rooms.”

READ MORE: Affordable housing units open in Penticton

READ MORE: Feds’ latest investment aims to boost affordable housing across Canada

Rosenberger knows how difficult recovery can be, and how important it is to have an affordable place to stay in order to see recovery through.

He knows because he’s been through it himself.

“I’m four and a half years sober, so I know a little bit of the background of recovery and some of the ways that people don’t see how those steps go for recovering addicts. I know for me, when I first started down that road there were lots of ups and downs and hiccups, but in the end it has to start with a safe place to stay.

“I rented a room off of somebody and then went up to a place of my own, so this is kind of my way of giving back.”

Rosenberger has reached out to contacts in the recovery community, including Bill’s Place Addictions Recovery Program, to see if they can help him find someone who would be a good fit. He knows that a person in need of a treatment centre won’t get much benefit from one of his hotel spaces.

“I’m not talking about turning hotels into treatment facilities, because there are certain stages in recovery that definitely wouldn’t work with hotels,” he says.

Whether it’s a few weeks, a few months or longer, Rosenberger hopes a room at the hotel could be the stepping stone a person needs to find stable, long-term housing. Peter Kaz, the hotel’s special services manager, says that if an arrangement works out, there’s more they can do to help them with their next step.

“We can also be a reference for them as well when they try to find the next accommodations in their lives, or a job, or anything like that.”

In a sense, Rosenberger is testing the waters for other hotels to follow suit if his pilot project is successful.

“In my mind it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to have a town full of hotels with empty rooms and so many people who are having issues.”


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
Follow us: Facebook | Twitter

affordable housing

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

Just Posted

The old Shielings Motel is being demolished for an eventual roundabout to reduce congestion between Skaha Lake Road and South Main Street. The city is also hoping to have affordable seniors housing there too. (Brennan Phillips - Penticton Western News)
Affordable seniors housing coming to Shielings Motel site in Penticton

The city hopes to turn a portion of the site into affordable housing

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Interior Health announces 89 cases of COVID-19 in the region

Currently, there are 900 active cases in the region

Penticton Christian School. (Facebook)
UPDATE: COVID-19 exposure at Penticton independent school after school program

The exposures are the latest in a quickly growing list in Interior Health schools

Elijah Beauregard, 16, was stabbed in downtown Kelowna on June 27, 2019. He died of his wounds three days later in hospital. His family is raising money to put a memorial bench at his favourite skatepark in Penticton.
Young woman charged in stabbing death of Penticton teen pleads guilty

The teen, who can’t be named, will appear in Kelowna Supreme Court Tuesday

B.C. wineries are open for indoor tasting despite new provincial health regulations. Photo- 
50th Parallel Winery, Instagram.
Indoor wine tastings still allowed in B.C., not considered a ‘social gathering’

“Tasting is really just part of the retail experience. The analogy I use is you wouldn’t buy a pair of pants without trying them on.”

Burnaby MLA Raj Chouhan presides as Speaker of the B.C. legislature, which opened it spring session April 12 with a speech from the throne. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C. NDP promises more health care spending, business support in 2021 budget

John Horgan government to ‘carefully return to balanced budgets’

A youth was arrested following a car crash on Wallace Street on Saturday, April 10. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Onlookers laugh and jeer as B.C. teen beaten, then forced to strip and walk home

Police arrest older teen, call video shared on social media ‘disturbing’

The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
The Red Pill Rapper performs to the crowd gathered for the Rally For Food Security at Blackburn Park on Saturday, April 10, 2021. (Kristal Burgess Photography)
Suspicion of ‘fake news media’ makes rally uncomfortable for Salmon Arm event photographer

More than 300 people counted at city park for ‘Rally For Food Security’

A lady wears a sticker given out after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count slows after last week’s peak

3,219 new cases since Friday, 18 additional deaths

North Cowichan councillor Tek Manhas did not violate the municipality’s code of conduct by posting a sexist meme on Facebook, council concludes. (File photo)
B.C. municipality to take no action against councillor who posted sexist meme

Tek Manhas’s meme doesn’t violate North Cowichan council’s code of conduct, municipality concludes

Shayla, an 8-pound black and grey Havanese, was stolen from outside a store on Banks Road on Saturday. (Contributed)
Stolen pup located, Kelowna RCMP confirms

Mounties said on April 12 that Shayla, the 8-pound, black and grey Havanese dog, has been located safe and sound

A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Small business struggling amid COVID-19 pandemic looks for aid in Liberals’ budget

President Dan Kelly said it is crucial to maintain programs to help businesses to the other side of the pandemic

The National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians says that includes attempts to steal Canadian research on COVID-19 and vaccines, and sow misinformation. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)
Intelligence committee warns China, Russia targeting Canadian COVID-19 research

Committee also found that the terrorist threat to Canada has shifted since its last such assessment

Most Read