A guide to social and affordable housing in the Thompson-Okanagan - InfoNews

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A guide to social and affordable housing in the Thompson-Okanagan

Pleasantvale Seniors Residences in Kelowna's North End.
June 13, 2018 - 5:13 PM

PENTICTON - Affordable housing initiatives in the Thompson and Okanagan regions offer a surprisingly wide variety of housing options, including rent payment assistance for those who qualify in British Columbia.

Some of the projects have come about as a result of the province’s Rapid Response to Homelessness campaign, a $291 million investment over two years to build 2,000 modular supportive housing units across B.C., including the Thompson-Okanagan region.

The initiative is intended to deliver a mix of permanent and temporary housing units.

B.C. Housing senior communications specialist Laura Matthews says a complete list of subsidized housing buildings in Kamloops, Vernon, Kelowna and Penticton can be found at this B.C. Housing website. The list includes information on how many units are in each building, the addresses of each building along with tenant eligibility criteria.

The housing options also differ in terms of eligibility criteria and purpose.

Here is a list of supportive housing options offered by B.C. Housing and a description of their purpose:

Low barrier housing, or shelter requires tenants to be at least 19 years of age. B.C. Housing doesn’t discriminate against a person based on their level of need, and shelter users live independently and are free to make their own choices with respect to their lifestyle. There is access to onsite services and community support services they may need. Low barrier shelters generally minimize such things as paperwork, waiting lists and eligibility requirements to make it as easy as possible for those in need to gain access.

High barrier shelters on the other hand may have a number of entry requirements necessary for access such as sobriety.

Supportive housing is intended to provide vulnerable people with access to a safe, secure and affordable home, with services tailored for each tenant. Services typically include a daily meal program, life and employment skills, and access to mental health and addictions programming for those who need it.

Homeless rent supplements are available in British Columbia for people experiencing homelessness to assist them with finding rental housing in the private market with the rent supplement provided as a subsidy. This program also provides access to other community-based support services such as mental health, addictions and life skills services, and coaching.

Assisted living units are provided for seniors and individuals with special needs that require on-going supports and services.

Independent affordable rental housing is units B.C. Housing supports for low- to-moderate income seniors, families and people with disabilities. They are intended for those who can live independently without the need for support services.

Rental assistance is also available for low-income seniors and working families who are eligible, providing cash assistance toward monthly rental payments.

There are two ways to apply for subsidized housing in this province. The first is through the Housing Registry website here and the second by applying directly to non-profit societies and co-operatives who manage their own application process.

More information on housing assistance is available on B.C. Housing's website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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