Penticton council will get introduced to the city’s newest supportive housing project on Skaha Lake Road ahead of its June opening.
Representatives from ASK Wellness Society and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre will be speaking to council on Tuesday, April 18 about the upcoming opening of the housing project on Skaha Lake Road, named Snpaʔx̌təntn in the Syilx language, which translates to Healing House.
The plan is to have the supportive housing open and with people moving in by June of 2023. Construction of the supportive housing is being funded and done by BC Housing, with ASK Wellness and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre taking over operations once it’s open.
Snpaʔx̌tƏntn will provide subsidized housing, with promises of 24-7 on-site support for residents who are at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It will be a dry, recovery-focused building for people who have made some progress towards being substance-free.
According to the frequently asked questions page attached to Tuesday’s presentation, there will 52 units with some being accessible for people with mobility difficulties, laundry and a commercial kitchen for the facility with access to two meals per day. Staff will include housing support workers, peer recovery support coaches, employment rehabilitation workers, a drug and alcohol counsellor and a cultural support worker.
This is not the first time a project in Penticton has been promised with supports. The Burdock House, when it opened in 2019, also promised that its “wrap-around supports will help people heal from the experience of being homeless and give them a stable foundation on which to build a better life.”
An audit of BC Housing’s projects in Penticton in 2022 found a shortfall of supports and necessary services for people living in Burdock House.
The Ooknakane Friendship Centre is also in the midst of some turmoil as it faces several lawsuits from former employees, including its former executive director who had made an impassioned speech to council about the Skaha supportive housing project.