Lack of affordable housing prompts Vernon, B.C. business to buy staff accommodation

It’s another example of how affordable housing is affecting life in Okanagan.

One Vernon, BC, business has now opted to purchase employee accommodation to help workers find a place to live.

At the same time, the owners of The Roster Sports Club Bar and Grill, a sports bar and racket club, also hope the housing offer will help recruit new workers.

Owner Anya Hollands said: “Finding affordable housing in Vernon is a challenge right now and it’s really becoming an obstacle, in some cases, for businesses to get in. recruitment.

“[It’s] It’s very hard to find anything at a price that fits their pocket and it’s extremely hard to find a place where, in general, it’s a decent place to stay. “

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So, with the business expansion and hiring more employees, the owners decided to buy a house that can accommodate several employees.

“We purchased a property that was legally two two-bedroom apartments, so the aim was to provide affordable monthly housing with all utilities and internet included,” Hollands said.

“We don’t see this as a revenue-generating activity. We are essentially seeing this as an investment in our employees to provide an affordable housing option.”

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Vernon’s chamber of commerce says the number one issue for local businesses is attracting and retaining employees, and high housing costs are a big part of that.

“We anticipate that employers will continue to have to take steps like purchasing employee housing just to maintain employee levels. However, that comes at a significant cost for businesses, and many people are unwilling to become homeowners beyond running their own business,” said Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce president Robin Cardew , said in a statement.

“The housing crisis is complex and no action will ever solve the problem, but we continue to call on federal, provincial and local governments to be creative and bold and partner with the region.” private sector to increase affordable housing.”

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However, for those businesses that are willing and able to provide housing, the president of the BC Restaurant and Catering Association sees it as a smart move.

Association president Ian Tostenson said: “Where the industry is going is trying to create lasting employment relationships with our employees.

“We have lost a lot of staff during the pandemic and I think that providing housing, providing flexible work schedules, [and] Work-life balance is part of the future. So I think you’ll see more and more of these. “

Back at the sports club, the business is expecting its squash specialist to move to the company in September and hopes the housing offer also helps recruit new kitchen staff.

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