A 35-unit affordable housing development has broken ground for Indigenous peoples near the Okanagan Landing Plaza. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Affordable Indigenous housing breaks ground in Vernon

35-unit complex under construction next to existing 38-unit building

Snow hasn’t halted efforts to build more affordable homes in Vernon.

Construction is starting on a 35-unit housing development for Indigenous people at 5577 27th Ave.

“We know there’s a significant need to build more affordable and accessible homes for Indigenous Peoples in Vernon,” said Harwinder Sandhu, Vernon-Monashee MLA. “Our government will continue to work with First Nations and Indigenous housing partners to deliver projects like this, on and off reserve, in communities throughout the province.”

The five-storey building will provide a variety of studio to four-bedroom, affordable rental homes for Indigenous peoples with moderate and low incomes. Nine of the units will be accessible for people with disabilities.

The site is located next to the existing 38-unit Indigenous Thunderbird Manor housing unit, located close to amenities such as the Okanagan Landing Plaza, schools and transit.

READ MORE: Vernon affordable housing development address ‘hidden homeless’ problem

The project was spearheaded by the Vernon Native Housing Society, which will own and operate the complex. It is expected to be ready for occupancy in fall 2023.

“This new building is adding not only affordable housing for our urban Indigenous Peoples, but also addressing the lack of accessible housing in our area,” said Val Chiba, president, Vernon Native Housing Society. “We are proud to be a part of the solution.”

The province is providing a grant of approximately $7.6 million for the project construction under the Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund (IHF), as well as annual operating funding of about $413,000. The City of Vernon and Regional District of North Okanagan are contributing approximately $382,000 to the project by offsetting regional and municipal development costs.

“This is an exciting and meaningful project to help match the needs of Indigenous community members, particularly for families,” Vernon mayor Victor Cumming said. “The city would like to thank the Vernon Native Housing Society for spearheading this project, as well as BC Housing for its generous and collaborative participation to make this much-needed housing a reality. We are honoured to be part of these continued partnerships to increase and improve affordable housing opportunities in Vernon.”

READ MORE: More snow on the way for Okanagan-Shuswap


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