The Society of Organized Services, District 69, building at 245 Hirst Ave in Parksville. SOS recently was named the service provider to accommodate affordable housing for tourism and hospitality works in Parksville Qualicum Beach. (Mandy Moraes photo)

SOS named service provider in affordable housing for tourism and hospitality workers

Organization will co-ordinate funds received by PQBTA

The Society of Organized Services (SOS) will soon be able to provide certain tourism and hospitality workers a bit of relief.

At the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) board meeting on Tuesday, April 27, directors voted to name the SOS as the facilitator to provide affordable housing for area tourism and hospitality workers. The funding to do so will come from the municipal regional district tax (MRDT) accrued from online accommodation platforms (OAP). OAPs are also known as online marketplaces that facilitate transactions for short-term accommodations, like B&Bs.

An estimate of $25,400 will be available for 2021, but for future years the amount could fluctuate depending on the economic impacts caused by the ongoing pandemic.

SOS executive director, Susanna Newton, is excited for the opportunity.

“SOS has been providing emergency financial assistance and advocacy to low income residents for many years. So this is a good fit from that perspective” she said. “A lack of affordable housing, or low cost housing, is definitely one of the main causes of hardship that we see on a daily basis when we work with our clients.”

She said of those clients who work in hospitality and tourism, she’s aware some struggle with supporting their families, especially when a large portion of their income goes towards paying rent.

“The housing market is very competitive. There’s not enough rentals and they’re high rent. So when the majority of your income goes to rent, there’s very little left for food, medicine, utilities, activities for children, etc.”

READ MORE: Parksville council endorses recommendations to provide affordable housing for tourism and hospitality workers

SOS will facilitate the role as the service provider and co-ordinate the funds received by the PQBTA, who in turn, will receive them from the provincial government.

Newton said that it’s still too early to provide more details as to what the program will look like and how exactly the SOS could best stretch the dollars to benefit as many residents as possible.

Executive director for the PQBTA, Blain Sepos, said he looks forward to working with the SOS.

“When we were asked to provide input, we agreed with them (the RDN) that it makes good sense to work with a local organization like the SOS, one that is well embedded in the community already and knows what kind of challenges residents face here.”

Sepos believes the next step will be arranging a working group to decided on what the program is going to look like.

Another option the RDN considered, instead of using the revenue for affordable housing, was to use it as tourism marketing for the region as to help with economic recovery caused by the pandemic.

Even considering this option, Sepos said the PQBTA still supports having the funds directed to affordable housing for tourism and hospitality workers.

“We do have a chronic worker shortage in the tourism and hospitality industries. So if this is something that we can do to make a bit of a difference, it’s important to the community,” he said.

mandy.moraes@pqbnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter 

affordable housingParksvillequalicum beachTourism

Just Posted

(PQB News file photo)
Parksville Fire Department reminds residents of backyard burning and fireworks bans

Beach fires are always prohibited by provincial legislation

Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien. (PQB News file photo)
Parksville Coun. Doug O’Brien explains opposition to 4-way stop at high-traffic intersection

‘None of us on council have the education or training to recommend traffic control systems’

The Parksville Civic and Technology Centre at 100 Jensen Ave. Chesapeake Shores film crew will be on location from May 17 until May 19, 2021. (PQB News file photo)
‘Chesapeake Shores’ to film at Parksville Civic and Technology Centre starting May 17

Public parking limited on Jensen Avenue and Craig Street during filming

Arrowsmith Search and Rescue manager Ken Neden, as he goes over the events of the Qualicum Falls river rescue on Dec. 12, 2020, for a United Kingdom television program “Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’. (Mandy Moraes photo)
UK TV show spreading news of daring Qualicum Falls river rescue across the world

Arrowsmith SAR trio share their accounts for ‘Unbelievable Moments Caught on Camera’

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Queen Elizabeth II and Clive Holland, deputy commonwealth president of the Royal Life Saving Society, top left, virtually present Dr. Steve Beerman, top right, with the King Edward VII Cup for his drowning-prevention work. Tanner Gorille and Sarah Downs were honoured with Russell Medals for their life-saving resuscitation. (Buckingham Palace photo)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Former UFV Cascades wrestling coach Arjan Singh Bhullar is now the ONE heavyweight champion after defeating Brandon Vera via TKO in round two on Saturday in Singapore. (ONE Championship)
Former UFV wrestling coach wins MMA championship

Arjan Singh Bhullar captures ONE heavyweight title, first Indian origin fighter to achieve honour

Astra Zeneca vaccine waits for injection in a Feb. 3, 2021 file photo. A Langley man has become the second B.C. resident to suffer a blood clot following an injection. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
B.C. man required emergency surgery after AstraZeneca vaccination

Shaun Mulldoon suffered ‘massive blood clot’ after jab

Chilliwack’s Kile Brown, performing as drag queen Hailey Adler, dances and lip syncs in front of hundreds of people during the inaugural Chilliwack Pride Barbecue at the Neighbourhood Learning Centre on Aug. 24, 2019. Monday, May 17 is International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of May 16 to 22

International Day Against Homophobia, Talk Like Yoda Day, Sea Monkey Day all coming up this week

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
MISSING: Salt Spring RCMP find woman’s car, still seek Island resident

Sinikka Gay Elliott is 5’3” with a slim build and dark brown short hair

The Sooke Animal Food and Rescue Society (SAFARS) helps make a difference to more than 50 feral cats in the region. (Contributed - SAFARS)
Vancouver Island volunteers making life easier feral cats

Food, veterinary services and more helps make a difference to abandoned cats in the region

Most Read