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BC Housing audit in Penticton finds gaps in support

The report was released on Tuesday May 17
Penticton’s Burdock House supportive housing on Winnipeg St. is one of the B.C. Housing buildings the City of Penticton had audited. (Brennan Phillips - Western News)

After more than a year, the audit of BC Housing’s projects in Penticton has found that, as the city suspected, they are lacking necessary services.

The review of the projects in the city was completed by a third party and published by BC Housing on Tuesday, May 17.

While the report found that the BC Housing projects had shown benefits from intangible impacts such as mental health and overall well-being to a reduction in the number of hospital visits for residents, the report also noted the need for many services such as an Assertive Community Treatment team that can assist high-needs individuals.

“We wanted this report to make sure the occupants were getting the services they deserve and that the community was promised,” says Acting Mayor Judy Sentes. “This report shows us a path forward now, one that will require a true partnership with provincial authorities to deliver effective services. It’s clear we need to do more but we need to do it in the correct way and that means proper support.”

READ MORE: Penticton’s BC Housing audit on hold until shelter issue resolved

Among the findings from the audit was that there are residents with high health needs beyond their current health care capacity on site.

“Staff emphasized the need for more long-term health care solutions for those with high health and mental health needs to provide the specialized care they require,” reads that part of the report.

The City of Penticton has reiterated the need for 24-7 wraparound services for the BC Housing facilities, as well as the need for more effective and accessible treatment and recovery options.

BC Housing is also currently working on expanding its services and facilities with a new project, which will be a dry and recovery-based housing development.

READ MORE: Four-storey BC Housing project in Penticton to move forward

Council issued the development permit for the planned recovery facility at 3240 Skaha Lake Road in November 2021. BC Housing is still determining the construction schedule.

“Council is supportive of treatment and recovery options for those suffering from trauma, addiction and mental health issues which is why we are glad BC Housing changed its earlier proposal on Skaha Lake Road from supportive housing to providing recovery options,” said Sentes.

“But we will continue to fight for Penticton’s most vulnerable, for better mental health services, an ACT team and the introduction of a Car 40 program.”

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Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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