Province buys Polson Park Motel in Vernon, B.C. for permanent housing units

FILE. Polson Park Motel from before the province purchased it. courtesy: B.C. Hotels Collection

The old Polson Park Motel in Vernon, B.C., will now provide 29 permanent homes with a variety of supports for people facing homelessness.

“As we slowly come out of the pandemic, we recognize that the need for affordable housing services in Vernon is greater than ever,” Randene Wejr, executive director of  Turning Points Collaborative Society, said in a press release. The organization will provide a range of services within the building.

“Inflation, the lack of affordable housing units and a growing waitlist have meant more and more families and seniors are on the verge of homelessness.”

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The people housed at the building may also need support and Turning Points Collaborative Society will provide daily meals, life-skills training, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources, and access to addiction treatment and recovery services. Full-time staff will provide residents with around-the-clock support.

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The old motel located at 3201 24th Ave. was bought by the province through B.C. Housing. The purchase and associated renovation will cost $2.6 million initially and BC Housing will pay $1 million annually for an operating subsidy.

Each of the 29 units in the two-storey building has its own washroom and kitchenette and will become a permanent home for those who already lived in it temporarily throughout the pandemic.

“With this purchase, we are continuing to add to the significant efforts underway to ensure vulnerable people in Vernon have access to stable and permanent housing,” Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee said in a press release. “Budget 2022 provides money for a new permanent housing plan so vulnerable people who have been living in temporary housing since the start of the pandemic will now have a permanent place to call home.”

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Since 2017, the provincial government has funded more than 32,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including more than 530 homes in Vernon.

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The province said that an independent appraisal of the site was completed in February 2022 and supports the purchase price, which is below the appraised value.

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