Staff and residents of Heath House are doing their part to clean up the streets of Rutland and be good neighbours in the community.
The Canadian Mental Health Association operates Heath House. Communications manager Jessica Samuels said the staff started collecting garbage in the Leathead area about three months ago.
There are four residents, who are graduates of the People Employment Services program, that assist staff in cleaning up the garbage.
The People program helps former homeless individuals to become employed through a local social enterprise and transition them into the workforce.
“Helping to clean up the area is all part of the work we are doing at CMHA Kelowna to show that the staff and residents of Heath House are committed to being good neighbours and are contributing members of the community that is Rutland,” said Samuels.
The staff and residents use a buggy to collect everything from plastic bags to shopping carts, to needles.
Shopping carts are returned to Heath House fixed up and given back to the businesses they came from or thrown out if they’re no longer useable. All of the garbage collected is taken back to Heath House and disposed of.
“Sometimes the staff come across furniture, but unfortunately it’s usually too big for them to clean up. But if they can take it they will,” explained Samuels. “The streets are starting to look cleaner and hopefully the community feels better about the area.”
Heath House opened in February and offers 40 units to individuals experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
CMHA has been operating housing in Kelowna for two decades and it has more than 200 housing units in the community.