This is another example of the impact of unaffordable housing on life in the Okanagan.
A company in Vernon, British Columbia, has now opted to purchase staff housing to help workers find housing.
Meanwhile, the owners of Roster Sports Club Bar and Grill, a sports bar and racquet club, also hope the housing supply will help recruit new workers.
“Finding affordable housing in Vernon is such a challenge right now and it’s actually becoming a barrier, in some cases, for businesses to recruit employees,” owner Anya Hollands said.
“[It’s] Incredibly difficult to find anything affordable for them and incredibly difficult to find a place, in general, that is decent accommodation.”
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Thus, with the expansion of the business and the hiring of additional staff, the owners decided to buy accommodation that could accommodate part of the employees.
“We purchased a property consisting of two legal two-bedroom suites, so the intention is to provide housing at an affordable monthly rate that includes all utilities and internet,” Hollands said.
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“We don’t see it as a source of income. We see this primarily as an investment in our employees to provide an affordable housing option. »
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The Vernon Chamber of Commerce says the biggest problem for local businesses is attracting and retaining staff and the high cost of housing is a big part of that.
“We anticipate that employers will have to continue to take measures such as purchasing employee housing simply to maintain staffing levels. However, this comes at a significant cost to businesses, and many are not prepared to also be owners beyond running their business,” Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce President Robin Cardew said in a statement. communicated.
“The housing crisis is complex and no amount of action will solve the problem, but we continue to call on federal, provincial and local governments to be creative and bold and work with the private sector to increase the supply of accessible housing.
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However, for businesses willing and able to provide accommodations, the president of the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association considers it a smart move.
“The direction the industry is taking now is to create long-term employment relationships with our employees,” said association president Ian Tostenson.
“We have lost a lot of employees during the pandemic and I think providing housing, offering flexible working hours, [and] Work-life balance is part of the future. So I think you’re going to see more and more of that.
Back at the sports club, the company expects its squash pro to move into the company house in September and hopes the accommodation offer will also help recruit new kitchen staff.
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