Turning Points says it won't be derailed by call for audit of supportive housing

'More need than ever'

Management at Vernon's Turning Points Collaborative Society say any disruption of supportive housing projects in the city "will put vulnerable lives at risk, put more people on the streets, or in parks."

In a media statement Tuesday, Turning Points expressed gratitude for an outpouring of public support in the wake of a motion by Coun. Scott Anderson to place a moratorium on new projects until an audit of their outcomes can be completed.

Anderson withdrew his motion at Monday's council meeting, but vowed to return with a "more focused" version.

His notice of motion prompted a flurry of letter writing in support of Turning Points, with more than 90 letters received by city council.

"We are so grateful to this community, who showed their true understanding of the value of Housing First," said Turning Points.

The agency said attempts to derail supportive housing efforts in the city can expect to be met with "further outcry from the community."

A recent Regional Housing Needs Assessment put rental vacancy rates in Vernon at just 1%.

"On top of that, we are in the middle of a pandemic as well as a deadly opioid crisis. There is more need than ever in our community for supportive housing, as well the continuum of services that follow," Turning Points said.

Turning Points' My Place project on 35th Street houses 56 residents.

Since its opening in July 2019, a survey in June of last year found 98% of area residents and businesses would support more supportive housing in the community, and 70% stated that the neighbourhood had improved.

"For the team dedicated to the work of Turning Points, it is difficult not to be discouraged by the councillor’s motion questioning our efficacy and transparency. We stretch our resources, often beyond capacity, to ensure that each individual we serve gets the shelter they need and the individualized support that will help them succeed. And we will continue to do so, even if distracted by a future motion."

Two additional supportive housing projects are in motion with BC Housing in Vernon. The first is right beside My Place, and the second is at the former Howard House location on 43rd Street.

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