The City of Penticton is working with its partners, which include the federal and provincial governments, to achieve our community’s housing and homelessness goals. In April 2020, the City of Penticton entered into a three year memorandum of understanding with 100 More Homes – the lead group of community partners addressing housing and homelessness in Penticton.
As a partner of the 100 More Homes Collaborative, we are supporting the advancement of Penticton’s leadership with the North America-wide Built for Zero initiative, and in local partnership with HelpSeeker Technologies. In addition to our work with community partners, we have established opportunities to increase affordable housing stock, including adopting policies within the Official Community Plan (OCP) to support these efforts. This page outlines some of the recent initiatives and projects.
BC Housing Review
A review of supportive housing projects by BC Housing, released in May 2022, confirms the need for improved treatment and recovery services in Penticton as significant gaps remain that see people falling through the cracks.
The report of three supportive housing facilities highlights the challenges faced by Penticton:
- The need for full 24/7 wraparound services at existing supportive housing facilities
- The need for more effective and accessible treatment and recovery options
- The need for an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) team in Penticton
Projects & Initiatives
In the past five years, Penticton City Council has supported the development of three new supportive housing programs (Burdock House, Compass House and Fairhaven), supported the construction of a larger shelter at Compass Court, and contributed to lower cost housing options such as Backstreet Apartments and the Rise on Nanaimo.
Just recently, City Council updated the Official Community Plan to support housing for Indigenous persons on Main Street, and City Council entered a Memorandum of Understanding with the South Okanagan Similkameen Brain Injury Society to develop new housing along Galt Avenue.
Penticton City Council has been a good partner when it comes to housing and homelessness:
- Applied for a $450,000 grant from the Union of BC Municipalities to support services supporting individuals.
- Contributes all donations to the Kindness Metre to groups such as 100 More Homes.
- Has supported numerous developments of shelters, supportive housing, and lower cost housing options by expediting applications, waiving Development Cost Charges, providing permissive tax exemptions, providing enhanced staff support, and waiving other fees.
- City inspectors, such as fire and building officials, will typically expedite any requests it receives from an operator of shelter, supportive housing, and other lower cost housing options.
- Has worked with community partners to bring in housing and homelessness experts, such as OrgCode Consulting, Inc.
- Provide funding to the RCMP for a mental health coordinator.
- City staff attend 100 More Homes meetings.
- City staff and members of City Council attend the Community Advisory Committee meetings that exist to ensure there are strong relationships in the community between non-market housing programs and the neighbourhood.
- Municipal services such as the fire department, RCMP, bylaw services, and social development provide direct and indirect supports and services to individuals experiencing homelessness and individuals participating in a housing program.
- At the urging of groups, such as 100 More Homes, and for many other reasons it hired a social development specialist to support the social well-being of Penticton. The Social Development department works collaboratively with community partners on policy, strategies and finding opportunities to maximize Penticton’s resources in order to best support a socially well community with a strong social fabric.
- To ensure community safety, the City self funds a needle clean-up program for needles left in inactive encampments.
The following resolutions have been passed by Penticton City Council in recent months to support the safety and well-being of Penticton.
Feb. 19, 2019
- Full Social Support Services for Homeless Housing
"WHEREAS the Province through BC Housing has invested in creating housing for those individuals struggling with homelessness;
AND WHEREAS individuals experiencing homelessness are often in need of social services;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province ensure all forms of social services (mental health services, addiction services, social assistance services, employment services, etc.), also referred to as “wrap-around services”, are available to individuals housed in homeless housing at the housing site or within a short walking distance."
- Addition of Drug and Alcohol Recovery Facilities and Beds
"WHEREAS an opioid crisis has been identified in British Columbia, and addictions can also take many other forms such as alcohol and other drugs, with addictions being so detrimental to an individual’s health and well-being;
AND WHEREAS there are not enough Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation/Recovery Facilities and spaces available for those who are seeking help to combat addictions;
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Province fund significantly more licensed rehabilitation facilities and beds in every municipality to enable all those who seek assistance in recovering from addictions and opportunity to beat addictions."
March 19, 2019
On March 19, 2019, Penticton City Council supported a resolution to establish a Community Active Support Table (CAST) for high-risk individuals, and individuals with complex needs. When incorporated into a community safety and well-being model, a CAST is a best-practice in connecting individuals to immediate supports.
July 21, 2020
On July 21, 2020, Penticton City Council, in response to concerns from the community about the emergency shelter in Penticton, asked BC Housing, Interior Health Authority, and the Province to make enhanced investments to better support individuals staying at the shelter.
“THAT Council continue to support City Staff’s efforts to encourage BC Housing Management Commission (“BC Housing”) to continue with its 24-hour security neighbourhood pilot project, including regular patrols of the neighbouring properties.
THAT Council send a letter to the Interior Health Authority (IHA) Board stating that the Main Street Compass Court site was approved with the understanding of IHA’s investment/participation in supports – both by IHA having a physical presence on the site and a financial investment – and encouraging IHA to follow through on its commitments to the site.
THAT Council direct City staff to work with IHA and other community partners to advocate, in a coordinated effort, to the Ministry of Health for increased funding for new, integrated health supports focused on individuals’ permanent housing stability.
Council send a letter from the Mayor to request that the Minister of Health fund, as it does in some communities, the municipality’s costs associated with community sharp clean-ups efforts.”
March 2, 2021
During its March 2, 2021 meeting, Penticton City Council asked staff to bring back a report about enhancing Bylaw Services to seven days a week. Council also asked the Safety and Security Advisory Committee to work to develop location selection criteria for services such as shelters and supportive housing.
“THAT Council direct staff to bring back a report in April 2021 with details and funding options for additional community safety officers, within Bylaw Services, that would cover the hours from 6 am – 11 pm, 7 days a week, to strengthen the City’s response to the social and safety challenges the City is currently facing.
Council direct staff to work with the City’s Safety and Security Advisory Committee and bring back recommendations to Council on supportive housing and shelter location selection guidelines to ensure that any future facilities are located in locations that adhere to the criteria.”
March 16, 2021
During its March 16, 2021 meeting, Penticton City Council discussed correspondence from BC Housing. BC Housing had requested that Penticton City Council reconsider its March 2, 2021 decision to deny an application for BC Housing to operate what was described by BC Housing as a temporary, winter shelter at 352 Winnipeg Street year-round.
Watch Penticton City Council’s Discussion about the Victory Church Shelter:
Our Official Community Plan includes a goal to “increase housing affordability across the housing spectrum from subsidized, social housing to home-ownership options.”
Policies that will achieve this goal include:
- Working with partners such as BC Housing and non-market and market developers.
- Maximizing the housing potential of existing land.
- Supporting innovative models of affordable housing, such as modular, adaptive re-use and through technical and regulatory support.
- Continuing the efficient processing of residential development and building permits.
- Monitoring the vacation rental program to ensure short-term rentals are not having an adverse effect on rental housing.
On March 2, 2021, Penticton City Council asked the Safety and Security Advisory Committee to develop shelter and supportive housing location selection guidelines. The Committee discussed the guidelines over three meetings, and made a recommendation to Penticton City Council to adopt the guidelines. On May 18, 2021, Council adopted the guidelines based on the Committee’s recommendation. If you have questions about the guidelines, please contact Social Development.
Containing many anecdotes and personal stories of lived experience, as well as survey and other data, the No Where Home report outlines the unique challenges of youth faced with homelessness in Penticton. The report outlines the methodology for its creation, partners involved and includes 10 recommendations / objectives for improvement, including:
1. Meaningfully engaging youth voice (decision making, development of solutions) 2. Creating and maintaining a strong, community leadership structure 3. Implementing effective prevention strategies 4. Creating a continuum of housing options for youth 5. Increasing intra-partner collaboration 6. Educating and enhancing awareness 7. Implementing evidence-based and trauma informed practices 8. Increasing access to a range of services and supports 9. Increasing support for families with at-risk youth 10. Using data and evaluation to inform our decisions
During Youth Week 2022, the City of Penticton worked with partners and youth to fulfill a recommendation from youth in the report: the City work with youth to send a full copy of the report to provincial and federal governments. A copy of the letter from the co-chairs of the committee that supported the development of the report, a plea from a local youth for action, and a copy of a letter endorsement from A Way Home Canada were sent to various ministries in May 2022.
In the Community
There are many ways we can all work together to contribute to our community’s safety and wellbeing. Here are some ideas.
- If you See Something, Say Something. This campaign and City webpage provides information about how to report a crime or suspicious behaviour.
- Participate in some COVID-friendly community safety and well-being activities:
- Clean-up your block/neighbourhood.
- Practice the After Nine Routine by ensuring that all of your personal property is secure (e.g., trailers locked, bikes securely stored) prior to going on with your evening.
- Meet your neighbours, from a safe distance.
- Apply for a Small Neighbourhood Grant, in partnership with the Community Foundation.
- Complete a do-it-yourself crime prevention assessment of your residence.
- Ensure that valuables are engraved with a serial number, and a copy of the number is stored in a safe place.
- Shovel your neighbours’ sidewalk if they are away so it looks like someone is home.
- Refer individuals you may know experiencing homelessness to Penticton’s outreach team (see information below).
- Write to the following individuals letting them know that you want enhanced federal and provincial investments in community safety and well-being:
- More housing that aligns with Penticton’s priorities.
- More mental health and substance use addictions services.
- Better delivery of health services.
- Our local MLA.
- Our Member of Parliament.
- Get involved in the City of Penticton’s Safety and Security Advisory Committee, or topic-specific groups such as 100 More Homes or the Community Action Team.
Phone: 250-490-2512, Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m to 4:30 p.m.