Welcoming Communities Program, Responsible Gambling, City Policy for Displaced Tenants in Affordable Housing Units, Safety Strategies for Families in Potentially Unsafe Housing, Harm Reduction Strategy, Homelessness Strategy, Partners in Action

Harm Reduction Strategy
A “Partners in Action” team formed in May 2008 to create a harm reduction strategy that supports efforts for dealing effectively with addictions in our community. In addition, the team supported the Street Clinic during its transition to an outreach model. By October 2008, a work plan had been created for the strategy development and an initial community consultation had been hosted by the action team. By April 2010, the strategy had been launched and action teams implemented. A community driven harm reduction strategy was created and adopted by the Partners in Action Committee. A number of programs and initiatives were developed from the strategy. In 2018 the committee is evaluating the strategy, success and challenges. The strategy has merged with the Homelessness Strategy.

Homelessness Strategy
A “Partners in Action” team formed in summer of 2007 to create a homelessness strategy that supports efforts for dealing effectively with homelessness in our community. In addition, the team supported the Society in opening a downtown shelter for women and men. By early 2008, a work plan had been created for the strategy development and an initial community consultation had been hosted by the action team. By mid 2008, the strategy had been launched and action teams implemented. A community driven homelessness strategy was created and adopted by the Partners in Action Committee. In 2018 the committee is evaluating the strategy, success and challenges. The strategy has merged with the Harm Reduction Strategy.

Partners in Action
The Society has served on the Partners in Action committee since it was implemented in 2007 by the North Okanagan Social Planning Council.

The Partners in Action Committee believes that by focusing on the root causes of poverty you increase the health and safety of the community. The Committee’s action teams have been formed around the following areas of focus: Accessing Childcare, Accessing Recreation, Food Security, Harm Reduction, Housing / Homelessness, Mental Health / Addictions, Neighbourhood Capacity. As issues continue to come to the table, other topics have been added to the list.

Welcoming Communities Program
In the spring of 2014 the Society was working with the Social Planning Council on part of their Welcoming Communities contract. It was decided that the old Chinese Downtown and the Chinese Community would be recognized through these efforts. Vernon’s Chinese Community and the Vernon Museum joined the committee. Through the process two signs were developed which consist of information about the community and photographs from the late 1800’s through to today. The signs recognizing Vernon’s Chinese Community now hang on the old Chinese Free Masons building which is now the Society’s Gateway Shelter for Women and Men.

Responsible Gambling
The City of Vernon entered into a $50,000 sponsorship agreement with BC Lottery Corporation for a responsible gambling initiative. The City of Vernon approved a proposal by the Social Planning Council to host a Responsible Gambling Awareness Week (RGAW) over two consecutive years (January 2012 and January 2013). North Okanagan Employment Enhancement Society was hired to work with the Society and Partners in Action team and coordinate the activities and communications campaign. As a result of the success of the RGAW 2012 campaign in Vernon, BCLC decided to expand the project to four other communities in BC in 2013: Kamloops, Langley, Prince George and Westshore. The January 2013 campaign built on the successes and “lessons learned” from the previous year and reached more individuals than the 2012 campaign. A Final Report was presented to City Council in July 2013. BCLC hosted a RGAW in Vernon in 2014. This action team is now closed.

City Policy for Displaced Tenants in Affordable Housing Units
Social Planning Council coordinated a meeting between the City Planning Department, the Society and the Ministry of Social Development & Social Innovation. A draft policy was created as a result of the meeting and forwarded to City Council for their feedback and consideration. In January 2012, City Council supported a policy that included: Increasing the current requirement of 2 months’ notice of eviction to 3 months. In addition to the required one month’s rent compensation the developer must pay another month’s compensation to the Society’s Homeless Outreach Program. The Society will work with individual tenants to use the funds for housing needs that will not interrupt their income assistance benefits if they are on the system. This could include damage deposits, unpaid utility bills, moving expenses etc.