Gospel Mission helping record number of clients find homes
For the third straight month Kelowna's Gospel Mission has helped to house a record number of clients. In June, July and August combined, staff have helped over 100 people find a home.
"We're an emergency shelter. Not a long term shelter. As long as a client is willing, we work to support them in connecting with community partners, using a client-centered approach and best practices," said Chris Moffat, a member of the mission's Case Worker team.
The Gospel Mission assists over 600 new clients each year, and takes a pro-active long term plan of support for clients which includes follow up to make sure all needs are met.
For many clients housing is the last step to independence. This achievement is especially impressive considering the barriers facing clients. Barriers include the cost of housing in Kelowna, and the extremely low vacancy rate. Ministry Assistance is $610/month, which allows for $375 for shelter and $235 for food and bills. Clients often must find friends to share the cost.
Often a lack of references or credit, not to mention clients dealing with mental health issues or overcoming addictions are obstacles to secure housing.
"Contrary to the perception, Kelowna's Gospel Mission is the first step to housing," says Executive Director Randy Benson. "We do not enable homelessness, but rather we are in the housing business. We are the safety net that catches those in need, that keeps them from falling in to chronic homelessness. The figures speak for themselves."