It appears the homeless in Vernon are going to have to stay homeless a few months longer than expected.
A new, 46-bed facility won’t be opening until November due to groundwater problems at the old Howard House site where it is being built.
This is the second time delays have kept the shelter from opening its doors. It was originally expected to open this month.
“With the current Howard House facility, there’s been an ongoing issue of flooding, specifically every spring, so we just want to make sure that doesn’t happen at the Our Place shelter,” explained Turning Point co-director Kelly Fehr.
Turning Point will run the facility.
During the winter, BC Housing allowed 30 extra mats to be used to bring people in from the cold.
Fehr says he’s grateful BC Housing has supplied funding to 13 of those extra mats to stay open until November.
Fehr believes the numbers of people camping outside this summer are similar to last year when approximately 30 people were known to be sleeping in tents.
However, those who are couch-surfing means Vernon’s homeless numbers are far higher than that.
“It’s just frustrating knowing that people are continuing to sleep outside because there’s no housing,” Fehr said. “The quicker we can get this project up and going, the quicker we can serve our community.”
He said the main problem was a lack of affordable housing for low-income people in the Vernon area.