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Chamber calls for open process for supportive housing

VERNON – The Greater Vernon Chamber welcomes additional supportive housing in Vernon, but wants assurances that the process will be open and consider the needs of businesses and residents.
On July 21, the provincial government announced plans for 100 units for people experiencing homelessness in Vernon. The units, which will be operated by the Turning Points Collaborative Society, will provide meal programs, like and employment skills training, and health and wellness support services.
“Supportive housing is very much needed in Vernon and we thank the provincial government for making such a significant investment. Housing is a critical part of ensuring people can access the services they require and move forward with their aspirations,” said Krystin Kempton, Greater Vernon Chamber president.
B.C. Housing has indicated it will invite the public to learn more about the project and provide feedback through a virtual information session.
 “Given Covid health protocols, a virtual information session is understandable. We want to see open and transparent dialogue,” said Kempton.
“There needs to be a clear strategy for B.C. Housing to consult directly with the nearby businesses, residents and community leaders about the scope of services and any potential concerns they may have. There must be the ability for consultation that follows social distancing measures but allows for respectful discussion and relationship building. If supportive housing is to be successful, the community must be a full partner.”
Beyond consultation, the Chamber wants assurances that businesses near the housing complexes will have a single point of contact if issues arise.
The Greater Vernon Chamber also hopes to have discussions with Turning Points Collaborative Society, which is a member of the Chamber.