Housing is about more than a place to sleep. It’s tied our physical well-being, mental well-being and social well-being. Housing is an affordable safe space that protects us. It’s a secure, private space of our own. And it’s a place to gather with members of our communities. Good housing can help rebuild and maintain independence, day-to-day routines, confidence and social networks. Research shows that people living with a mental illness who live where they want to are more likely to have a job, social supports and a higher quality of life than those whose housing doesn’t meet their needs.
Of course, housing is deeply tied to the bigger social picture. Housing is linked to income, which is linked to education and experience, and so on. A positive change in housing can help influence positive changes in other factors that affect our well-being. Housing isn’t just about a house—it’s part of a path to safety, security, connectedness and acceptance.
- Housing Services
- North Okanagan Rent Bank
- Housing Application Form
- Housing Frequently Asked Questions
- Tenant Maintenance Request
CMHA, in partnership with Mental Health Services, operates two care facilities, with a combined total of 26 beds, for individuals requiring structured assistance at various stages of their recovery. The facilities have 24-hour staff trained in psycho/social rehab, as well as nursing staff. Education and life skills training are key elements to these programs.
CMHA is responsible for the care and management of over 140 mental health and low-income units. One, two, three or four-bedroom units are available. In partnership with BC Housing and Interior Health, our community benefits from the wide range of housing options available.
To apply for CMHA housing please fill out our Housing Application on this page. Please refer to our FAQ below for additional resources and answers to many housing-related questions.
North Okanagan Rent Bank
It is a fact that there are so many people who are only a pay cheque or two away from not being able to pay their rent.
We are pleased to announce that we have launched the North Okanagan Rent Bank, which will help to increase the housing stability in our community for individuals who are experiencing short-term financial difficulties.
The Rent Bank program is a homelessness prevention program that helps to provide housing stability for low to moderate income renters who are unable to pay rent or utilities due to an emergency that compromises their ability to pay.
What can CMHA Rent Bank loan help with?
- Rent arrears/past due rent
- Essential utility arrears
- Security/pet/first month’s rent
What is required to apply for a CMHA Rent Bank loan?
- Must be 19 years of age or older
- Must reside in the North Okanagan (City of Vernon, Coldstream, Spallumcheen, Armstrong, Lumby, Enderby, Grindrod, Cherryville)
- Must be a Canadian Citizen, Landed Immigrant, Permanent Resident, Refugee Claimant or a Temporary Foreign Worker
- Must have income sufficient to cover other living expenses
- Does not have excessive outstanding debts or undischarged bankruptcies
- Have a current bank account and can provide 3 months (90 days) of banking statements
- Able to demonstrate a temporary financial need or crisis
- Able to demonstrate housing will be stabilized for a minimum of 90 days
- Must provide Proof of Tenancy (i.e., Rental/Tenancy/Lease agreement; Eviction Notice; Utility Notice of Disconnection; Rent Receipts (at least three) or Rental Payment Record (provided by landlord); Recent household utility bills (Hydro & Fortis); or Confirmation from Landlord or Property Management Company verifying rental or housing arrangement
- Two (2) pieces of identification (ID), including one piece of photo ID
- Proof of income, Recent Pay stubs, child tax benefits or ministry payments, application to EI, employment contract etc.
- Proof of Tenancy or Intent to Rent
Here at CMHA Vernon we are focused on promoting mental wellness and having a place to call home is an important part of that. The North Okanagan Rent Bank will provide our communities with free, no-interest, short-term loans and access to relevant services in North Okanagan Communities.
If you would like more information about the North Okanagan Rent Bank please email: [email protected]
If you would like to start the process to determine if you’re eligible for a loan, complete your pre-assessment application here and a member of the rent bank team will contact you within 1-2 business days.
Please note that you will be redirected to the BC Rent Bank website to complete the online Pre-assessment form. BC Rent Bank and CMHA Vernon collect, use and disclose your personal information for assessment and administration purposes in accordance with the BC Rent Bank Privacy Statement.
Housing Application Form
If you are unable to use the online form please feel free to complete our fillable PDF Housing Application form.
Housing Frequently Asked Questions
I need a place to live by the end of the month. Can you help me?
Unfortunately, CMHA Vernon does not provide emergency housing. Emergency shelter options in Vernon:
Turning Points For men 250-542-3555
Gateway Support Services for Men and Women. Men: 250-260-2792, Women: 250-260-2786
Archway for Women 250-542-1122 or text 250-540-0656
How can I rent affordable housing from CMHA?
The first step in renting is to complete a housing application. Applicants are then put onto a waiting list and when a unit becomes available, an applicant is chosen from the waiting list.
Applications are available on our website at https://cmhavernon.ca/housing-services/ and clicking on the “Housing Application” link which can be filled out and submitted online or faxed (250-549-8446). Additionally, applications can be picked up at our office at 3100 28th Ave, Vernon.
Do I qualify for affordable housing? What type of unit would I get?
Applicants are categorized into one of two income levels for the purpose of determining what rental subsidy the household will qualify for. Secondly, each applicant is placed on a waiting list for the size and type of unit they qualify for i.e – 4 bedrooms, family, and disabled.
How long will it take?
There is a BIG demand for affordable housing. The number of applicants is much greater than the number of units available. The length of time an applicant waits will vary depending on the type of request and the number of units available. It is not uncommon for applicants to wait a number of years. New placements can only take place when a current tenant moves out. CMHA does not have units available for emergency situations, units are always appropriately filled to maintain full occupancy.
Where am I on the waiting list?
CMHA is not able to provide this information since new applications are taken every week and the priority of placement is constantly changing. As a result, CMHA only reviews the priority of the waiting list when a unit becomes available which could be many months or years.
How does CMHA choose the applicant for the next available unit?
Placements are made from the waiting list and are based on a number of factors. These include but are not limited to:
- Availability: What type of unit is coming up (i.e. 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms?)
- Eligibility: What type of subsidy is available for this unit
- Suitability: Are there any physical limitations of the applicant such as stairs.
- Need Point Score: Guidelines are set by BC Housing to objectively evaluate the needs of each applicant. The guidelines consider: the cost of rent as a percentage of income, current living conditions, assets, length of time on waiting list, etc.
- References: Good references from prior landlords are an important factor in the evaluation process.
Can I Keep my pets?
CMHA allows small caged animals such as hamsters or birds.
Cats, dogs and rabbits are not allowed.
Registered service dogs that perform a specific task (i.e owner is blind and requires a seeing eye dog) and are certified, trained, or accredited through a recognized program (PADS etc) are allowed.
Emotional and therapy animals are not recognized or allowed.
How much will I be expected to pay?
If you are offered a rent-geared to income unit, the amount you will pay depends on the size of your family and your gross household income (income before taxes). Payments are generally set at approximately 30% gross household income. Debt load is not taken into consideration when payments are calculated. You may qualify for a small hear allowance.
What happens if my income changes? Will I have to move out?
For rent-geared-to-income units, payments are re-calculated when household income changes. Payments may also be re-calculated when there is a change in the number of occupants in the household. If a household’s income rises beyond the eligibility guidelines, a tenant may be asked to move out within a reasonable time frame.
How can someone who applied after I did, get into a unit before me?
Most often the timing of placements relates to the differences in eligibility for one of the units. CMHA manages a wide variety of housing units with 1, 2, 3 or 4 bedrooms. Some units are for families and some for those with disabilities. In addition to the configuration of the units, each unit is further categorized into one of 2 income levels. In all, CMHA has 5 categories of units and each application is filled according to the eligibility for one of the categories.
When a unit becomes available, only the applications eligible for that unit are reviewed and current eligibility is confirmed. Due to the complexity of determining eligibility for each category, we ask that applicants contact CMHA to update their file when they have a change of income, accommodation, phone number or family size.
When I am in such great need, how can someone else be placed before I am?
As difficult as some situations are, there are always applicants with equal or greater needs. When choosing between very needy households, CMHA must rely on the most current information supplied by the applicants and carefully review all the factors noted in point #6 above.
What can I do?
KEEP YOUR FILE UP TO DATE
If the office receives no contact from the applicant within a 12-month period, the application is marked inactive. (this means the applicant will not be considered if a unit becomes available).
If a call is received from an applicant after the 12 months period, the application is archived. (this means the application is removed from the wait list).
If you no longer desire to live in a CMHA housing unit, please let the office know so that your application can be removed from the application waiting list.
It is important to remember that things move slowly in regard to housing, and it is for that reason we ask people to only update annually (once a year) except for cases where relevant household information has changed. Weekly or monthly calls to check on your application has no bearing on an applicants chances to get in as only after an entire year do we mark an application as inactive.
If you are needing to update your housing application or are advocating for someone and want to either email additional information or support them please email [email protected] or call 250-542-3114 (ext 214).
Are there other housing providers in Vernon?
CMHA is one of a number of affordable housing organizations in Vernon. Since the various organizations do not share waiting lists, we encourage applicants to contact each group in order to apply for housing.
Other housing societies include:
Affordable Housing: Both the federal and provincial governments have set up programs that are aimed at assisting low to moderate income households by providing housing at a cost below the going market rates. Over the years, both levels of government have instituted numerous programs to accomplish this objective. Many affordable housing programs are operated in partnership with non-profit organizations like CMHA.
Family: for the purposes of housing allocations, means a minimum of 2 persons and must include at least 1 dependent child (under 19 years of age)
BC Housing: The British Columbia Housing and Management commission (also known as BCHMC) is a crown corporation of the Province of BC.
CMHC: Canada mortgage and Housing Corporation is a crown corporation of the Government of Canada and is the agency responsible for the admissions of many of the housing related programs offered through the federal government
Rent-Geared-To-Income: refers to the setting of the monthly payment amount for a tenant. The formula is set by BC Housing and tenants pay approximately 30$ of gross household income.
Person with a Disability: for the purposes of housing allocations, means a person who, in the written opinion of a medical doctor or registered psychologist, has a significant permanent disability that cannot be significantly permanently improved by medical treatment.