Latest supportive housing project in Penticton is different, say operators | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Latest supportive housing project in Penticton is different, say operators

Concept drawing of new supportive housing project planned for 3240 Skaha Lake Rd. in Penticton.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ASK Wellness
May 04, 2021 - 2:56 PM

Two organizations are hoping Penticton residents and city council will be more welcoming to a new supportive housing project planned in the south end.

The ASK Wellness Society and the Ooknakane Friendship Centre announced a partnership to operate a 50-unit proposed housing project at 3240 Skaha Lake Rd. in a press release yesterday, May 3.

Participants in the housing project will be those either at risk of or experiencing homelessness, while seeking support for treatment and recovery.

The program, known as “Nxastwilxtn” in the Sylix language, is designed for individuals who have at least started their recovery, and will be required to sign an agreement to refrain from on-site substance use.

The two operators will provide wraparound support services with staff who will be on site 24/7 to provide such services as meals, life and employment skills training, health and wellness, education, counselling, mentorship and connection to culture. The residents will also have access to health services through Interior Health.

ASK Wellness communications manager Michael McDonald says yesterday’s announcement was made to provide some information to Penticton residents about the nature of the program model intended for the housing project.

He says it’s not the same type of housing model as Burdock House, another social housing facility run by ASK Wellness on Winnipeg Street in Penticton.

“The programming is recovery - focussed and partnering with an indigenous organization, with indigenous programming part of the model. Hopefully this is more in line with the form of housing the community is looking for,” McDonald says.

In January, Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki asked for a pause in the province’s plans to build the project after hearing concerns from residents about social housing issues in the city.

At the time, he also asked for an assessment of supportive housing in the city.

The City's director of development services Blake Laven says they have received a development permit application from the province for the project.

“The City did request an audit or review of our existing social housing facilities be done prior to submitting an application. Unfortunately B.C. Housing didn’t follow through with that,” Laven says.

Laven says he believes the audit is being conducted at this time, but the City is still waiting to hear back from the province.

“It was a request from council, however, B.C. Housing just submitted the application this week,” Laven says.

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