B.C. housing minister in the Okanagan ‘listening and learning’ as he takes aim at the housing crisis

The challenges posed by the housing crunch in the Okanagan are everywhere: people living in RVs, families making their homes in motels, and businesses struggling to find

staff. On Thursday, B.C.'s new housing minister, Ravi Kahlon, was in Vernon getting a sense of the situation as he starts work to tackle one of the province's biggest

problems. His North Okanagan stop is part of a larger tour of the Interior. "There [are] challenges across the province. I'm out here listening and learning and

hoping to take that knowledge back to come back with some positive solutions," Kahlon said. Kahlon said the province is working to have more affordable units built both for

rent and to buy. The ministry said he would be talking to city councils and mayors in the Interior about how to get that type of housing online. "We need to do it

faster. Waiting two, three, four years for these things to be built is too long," Kahlon said. Beyond building on existing programs, the new minister was short on

specifics. "We are right now refreshing our housing strategy so you will have very soon a road map of what we are going to be doing, from the province's perspective, to

ensure that housing that people need, no matter where they are in their lives,... is there for them," Kahlon said. "That may mean supportive housing ... but it also may

mean affordable rental units or smaller units people can actually afford to buy." Asked about the province's plan to create housing targets for some municipalities, Kahlon

said it was too soon to say if any Okanagan communities will be included.