Penticton city council may see the results of a third-party audit of three shelters in Penticton sooner than expected.
BC Housing’s audit of Compass Court, Burdock House and Fairhaven is nearing completion, said Adam Goodwin, social coordinator for the city.
The review of BC Housing’s three supportive housing sites in Penticton has been conducted over a period of six months. In a letter sent to city staff on June 16, 2021, BC Housing announced it had retained Harry Cummings and Associates to conduct the review.
The findings of the audit will include recommendations of changes and improvements at the shelters. These changes will be brought to the operators of the three shelters and made public, said Goodwin.
In January 2021, council voted unanimously in favour of requesting the audit, citing the lack of information on the impact the shelters have on the community and the effectiveness of BC Housing’s current supportive housing.
The city wanted to see the audit complete before the 54-unit BC Housing supportive housing was in front of them.
In February 2021, businesses near Compass Court complained about the incessant crime that many of them tied back to homeless shelter.
At that time, Coun. Katie Robinson agreed with the business owners that the crime rate in the area has skyrocketed after Compass Court opened on Main Street. The facility was approved by council in 2017 and opened in May of 2019.
“From a policing point of view, the industrial area is worse than anywhere in our city… exponentially worse,” Robinson said. “There wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary (a few years ago.) It was once Compass Court went in that they (business owners) really started noticing major differences.”
BC Housing is expanding Compass Court to house the more than 40 residents living at the Victory Church shelter.
Penticton’s Victory Church shelter is closing this spring.
“This new shelter would make sure that all Victory Church guests continue to have a safe, warm place to stay, with access to the supports they need to stabilize their lives,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing.
When BC Housing announced it would close Victory Church in spring, Penticton dropped its lawsuit against the B.C. government.
The new 42-bed shelter will be built at 1706 Main St., neighbouring the facilities on the site: Compass Court, a 20-unit supportive housing building, and Compass House, a 30-bed shelter.
The shelter would be operated by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living which owns and operates the existing buildings on the site.
(Editor’s note: The original story indicated that the audit was complete but in fact, it is nearing completion. We apologize for the error.)
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