Homeless people trying to get back on their feet in Kamloops now have an opportunity at a newly opened residence offering affordable housing.
The Maverick Manor — formerly the Maverick Motor Inn — has reopened with two-year transitional programs to find people jobs and help them reintegrate into the community.
Lawrence Miller, who lived in his car for three years while working in and around Calgary, is one of the first residents.
"I've drifted a lot in life and always had a job and have always been able to support myself — just the last couple of years got a little tougher so here I am," Miller said.
"I like Kamloops and I think a person could find a job here and get ahead."
Kim Galloway, the housing director at ASK Wellness Society, which runs the residence, says that the Maverick is meant for people who are motivated to get back into the workforce.
"When Lawrence came to us, right away I thought about the Maverick for him because he is the perfect fit," she explained.
For Miller, the opportunity came at the perfect time.
"Hopefully I'll be able to get on my feet and get a job, get ahead, maybe get another car, a better car," Miller said.
The Maverick has the capacity to house 42 people. By Dec. 1, 10 people had moved in, with more moving in mid- month, eventually working up to full capacity.
Each room is equipped with a small kitchenette, a bed, and a television. There are shared spaces, such as a larger kitchen and lounge area. Lawrence will pay $425 a month in rent until he is able to secure work. Rent will gradually increase to a maximum of $600 a month.
"Its focus is on employment, vocational work or volunteer service," Galloway said.
There is an employment team and life-skills support workers in place to help with the transition of the residents.
Kevin Watt, is the employment facilitator with the Maverick Manor program who lives onsite. He says he hopes to offer a lot more social services in the future.
"Residents don't have to access other services in the community — they can do a lot of it right here in the hotel," he said.
"I think it's going to offer them a lot of support.".
With files from Daybreak Kamloops