Housing approved

Supportive housing complexes, like this 50-unit one planned for Rutland, are succeeding in helping homeless people turn their lives around, says a new report from the B.C. NDP government.

Supportive housing complexes are having the intended effect of helping homeless people improve their lives, a new government report says.

Fifty-six per cent of people now living in such complexes say their physical health has improved, the report says. Forty-four per cent say they they’re been admitted to the hospital less often, and 40% reported improvement in their addiction issues.

The NDP government has created 2,000 units of supportive housing across B.C. in the past two years, including 230 either opened or planned in Kelowna.

The complexes are sometimes controversial, with nearby residents concerned about the potential for increased crime and drug use in their neighbourhoods.

The government has now released a survey which, it says, shows the complexes are substantially improving the quality of life for those people who move into the facilities.

It’s based on interviews with residents at seven supportive housing complexes recently opened in the Vancouver area.

All residents were invited to participate in the survey, and 41% did so.

These are some of the survey findings:

— one-third of the residents are 55 or older, and one-quarter identify as Indigenous people.

— 40% of residents are women.

— 79% were previously homeless.

— 94% were still living in the complexes six months after moving in.

— 44% said they’d experienced improvements in their mental health.

The supportive housing complexes have 24-7 staffing and provide services to residents such as meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness supports, and opportunities for volunteerism.