The contract has been awarded for the BC Housing project at 3240 Skaha Lake Road and it will have a recovery-based focus when it opens in early 2022.
ASK Wellness Society (ASK) and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre (OFC) are excited to announce their partnership on Nxǎstwilxtn(N-hast-wheel-stn): a proposed housing project that will allow participants to focus on their recovery as well as provide a connection to Indigenous supports, a press release said.
Nxǎ stwilxtn is a Sylix word, which in the English language means “a place to come for healing and wellness” or “a place where I came to feel good.”
The approximately 50-unit site will be developed for participants who are experiencing or are at risk of experiencing homelessness and are seeking support for treatment and recovery while acknowledging their need for healthier alternatives.
Nxǎstwilxtn program offerings will be designed for individuals who are further along their recovery journey. Eligible program participants will be identified through the Community Coordinated Access Table, and referred to the program. The residents will sign a program agreement committing to their ongoing recovery, healing, and wellness, which includes refraining from on-site substance use.
“When BC Housing put out the proposal for operators of the Skaha Lake Road housing we bid on in partnership with the OFC. We are thrilled that we were awarded the contract,” said Kenneth Scott, Ask Wellness coordinator of supported housing at Burdock House on Winnipeg St.
People experiencing homelessness in Penticton are disproportionately Indigenous, representing approximately one-third of the homeless count in Penticton, said Ask Wellness and OFC.
Nx̌astwilxtn will provide wraparound support services through staff who will be on site 24/7. These services will include daily meals, life and employment skills training, health and wellness education, counselling, mentorship, and connection to culture. Residents will also have access to health services through Interior Health.
Pending approval from the city of Penticton, construction at 3240 Skaha Lake Road is projected to begin this spring and is anticipated to complete by early 2022.
Bob Hughes, CEO of ASK Wellness Society said this kind of housing fits well.
“Creating a tapestry of supportive and affordable housing in Penticton will ensure people who are living without homes have the right supports and environment to improve their lives. The operating model for this project complements the existing housing settings in the community,” said Hughes.
“We believe that a wholistic approach that combines supportive housing, with a recovery focus will deliver the best outcomes for those with the intent on improving their lives,” said Matthew Baran, executive director of Ooknakane Friendship Centre.