A survey of Penticton youth shows that of those surveyed, over 23 per cent have experienced homelessness at some point. (File photo)

A survey of Penticton youth shows that of those surveyed, over 23 per cent have experienced homelessness at some point. (File photo)

‘Status quo no longer an option’: Penticton pays $85K a year to address homelessness

‘We require a new approach as a community,” said Penticton mayor John Vassilaki

A significant commitment was made by the City of Penticton on Tuesday, April 5, to help address homelessness and it came in the form of $255,000.

The city will pay non-profit organization 100 More Homes a total of $85,000 per year until 2024 after council approved a new three-year partnership during its regular meeting on Tuesday.

“Status quo for individuals experiencing homelessness in the community is no longer an option,” Penticton mayor John Vassilaki.

“We require a new approach as a community.”

Council’s unanimous vote prompted Vassilaki to go ahead and formalize an agreement with the B.C.-based housing provider.

Funds will be used to hire a full-time coordinator so that 100 More Homes can deliver on its mandate of housing those who are most vulnerable in the community.

100 More Homes says they housed 133 people in Penticton from 2016 to 2018 before recently partnering with United Way British Columbia and Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness.

The new partnership will also progress a number of community safety initiatives, including the recent report submitted to council that states 1 in 20 youth in Penticton may be homeless.

READ ALSO: Report to Penticton council says 1 in 20 youth may be homeless

“Working with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, and applying for Government of Canada designated funding are two important steps we must take as a community,” the mayor added.

“We thank 100 More Homes for stepping up to provide this leadership in Penticton.”

Councillors in Kelowna and Nanaimo, respectively, recently approved similar agreements with non-profit housing providers.

The partnership means more possibilities for grant funding from different levels of government. The new agreement will prompt the submission of two applications from the city — a grant from the Union of BC Municipalities to support community services and a federal government housing grant.

“The City wants to see similar progress that other communities across Canada are seeing in terms of decreases in the number of individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Blake Laven, the city’s director of development services.

Council will make room for the partnership in the city’s 2022 budget if grant applications are not successful in covering the expected costs, however, staff also suggested that the project could be funded through designated tax dollars and administrative savings.

READ MORE: City of Penticton could soon pay $85,000 per year to help address homelessness


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logan.lockhart@pentictonwesternnews.com

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