B.C. Housing is looking to put a new homeless shelter beside Compass Court in order to close the controversial Victory Church Shelter.
The provincial government announced the proposed new shelter on Wednesday, Dec. 15.
The goal of the proposal would be to provide a shelter for the current residents of Victory Church to move into. They also announced Victory Church shelter would close in the spring of 2022.
“If approved by city staff, this new shelter would make sure that all Victory Church guests continue to have a safe, warm place to stay, with access to the supports they need to stabilize their lives,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “We will continue to work with the city and our non-profit partners to ensure that all residents in Penticton have a safe place indoors.”
The City of Penticton also announced that its B.C. Supreme Court petition against the province over the Victory Church Shelter will be dropped following the news of the shelter being moved.
City council had approved spending up to $300,000 to fight the legal battle, and ended up spending around $70,000.
“Today’s announcement by the province to close the Victory Church shelter recognizes the voices of Penticton residents who, in great numbers, expressed their concerns surrounding the shelter,” said Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki. ”Equally importantly, this is great news for Penticton’s most vulnerable who can now seek shelter and care in a facility that is built in an appropriate location.We are pleased to see Minister David Eby and the province closing this shelter and adhering to the city’s bylaws.”
If approved, the new 42-bed shelter would be built at 1706 Main St. and would be next door to Compass Court, a 20-unit supportive housing building, and Compass House, a 30-bed shelter. Both Compass buildings are currently operated by the Penticton and District Society for Community Living (PDSCL).
The PDSCL would also operate the new shelter, which it said would allow for better support by consolidating their resources at a single location.
“The shortage of affordable housing in our community, the opioid crisis and the pandemic require us all to work together and support each other to reach the goal of ensuring everyone has a safe place to call home,” said Tony Laing, the CEO of PDSCL. “By consolidating our services at one location, we can reduce our impact on the community and continue ensure safe housing for those in need.”
BC Housing submitted a development permit for the project on Dec. 14, 2021. If the permit is approved by city staff, construction would begin in January 2022 and the shelter would open in March 2022, coinciding with the closure of the Victory Church shelter.
According to the release, since 2017, 106 supportive homes for people experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness are either complete or underway in Penticton as a result of provincial investments.
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