The Social Planning Council will be proceeding with an update of its homelessness and attainable housing strategies.
Executive director Annette Sharkey says they’ve secured funding to hire a consultant.
“We want a consultant to come in and really look at what we’ve done, look at best practices in the province and across the country and give us some guidance on what is next.”
City staff will have input on the hiring to ensure the consultant has the experience and qualifications.
Some specific ideas are needed.
“So take a look at the successes but also where can we focus for the next three to five years. It’s definitely a changing environment. We want to make sure we’re up to date on what are the best strategies moving forward.”
Sharkey says Vernon may be able to become a “designated community,” giving it access to significant federal funding to address homelessness, and allow it to look at a housing-first model.
North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold is helping with that.
“If we can get Vernon recognized, there’s assistance in housing first for homeless or people coming to the community looking for housing.”
There are currently 61 Canadian cities recognized as designated communities, including Kamloops and Kelowna.