Kelly Fehr from the John Howard Society and Annette Sharkey of the Social Planning Council, speak to Vernon council Monday (Beach Radio photo)
The John Howard Society has updated Vernon council on the plan for new housing to help the homeless.
Co-executive director Kelly Fehr says Our Place is a 46 bed shelter for men and woman that will be added at the Howard House site.
“There has been a bit of a delay. It’s scheduled to open in June, odds are it might be closer to July, but June is the current opening date. And then we have an apartment that’s planned to be open in November. So far, it’s on schedule. That will be for to 52 residents. Fully supported.”
Fehr says the Gateway Shelter and Howard House men’s shelter have been basically full every night.
The temporary winter facility at the Gateway closed April 1 due to lower demand, but there is still 20 extra mats at Howard House.
Fehr says they are seeing more couples seeking shelter.
“A lot of couples historically don’t come into shelters, so it’s a lot of couples that are sleeping outside, and there is just not shelter space. It’s predominately a men’s floor and women’s floor.”
Fehr says couples will be able to live at the new 52 unit modular apartment complex set to open in November.
Meantime, homeless camps remains small and scattered around Vernon.
That’s the latest update from Annette Sharkey of the Social Planning Council, speaking for the Cool Action team.
“It is difficult to provide an exact number, but it is estimated that at least 20 and 25 people are sleeping outside on a regular basis,” Sharkey told city council.
On a request from councillor Scott Anderson, Sharkey says they will consider adding a summer homeless census count, to go along with ones in spring and fall.
Anderson says it would be interesting to know how much the numbers rise in the summer.