Provincial spending on housing to fight homelessness in Kamloops, Okanagan tripled last year - InfoNews

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Provincial spending on housing to fight homelessness in Kamloops, Okanagan tripled last year

Hearthstone, a supportive housing complex that opened in Kelowna in October 2018, is one of the reasons B.C. Housing's spending to combat homelessness has more than tripled in the last year.
December 20, 2019 - 4:00 PM

While the number of homeless people across the Interior, province and country continues to grow, the B.C. government is shelling out big bucks trying to reverse that trend.

Spending by B.C. Housing on programs to help those who are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless has more than doubled in the 2018/19 fiscal year from the previous year and tripled in the Kamloops and Okanagan regions.

“Through the Homes for B.C. plan, launched in Budget 2018, the current government is making the largest investment in housing in B.C.’s history ($7 billion) and is working with partners to build 114,000 homes over 10 years,” states an B.C. Housing email sent to iNFOnews.ca. “This includes funding for 4,700 units of supportive housing.”

The NDP government was elected in May 2017 and the housing strategy came out in February 2018.

In the fiscal years from 2014/15 through to 2017/18, B.C. Housing’s spending averaged about $242 million. It more than doubled to $542.1 million in the 2018/19 fiscal year.

That money was used to fund subsidized housing and shelter spaces.

So far, B.C. Housing has opened more than 2,000 new supportive housing units in B.C., which accounts for some of the increased spending in the latest fiscal year. That includes 268 units, or more than 13 per cent of the total, for the Kamloops and Okanagan regions.

Those projects include Heath House and Hearthstone in Kelowna (92 units), Spero House and Mission Flats Manor in Kamloops (116 units), My Place and Our Place in Vernon (98 units) and Burdock House in Penticton (62 units).

Total funding for the Kamloops and Okanagan regions for the 2018/19 fiscal year was $73.6 million, a threefold increase over the previous year. It amounted to 13.6 per cent of the provincial total, up from 9.1 per cent the year before.

Spending increases in the region’s four major cities was unequally distributed, year over year, ranging from spending in Penticton doubling while the money spent in Vernon was about five times the previous year.

Below are the detailed numbers.


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