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45 people to be left on the streets after shelter’s closure, says nonprofit

Inn from the Cold is trying to house 45 residents after its closure in Kelowna

Inn from the Cold redoubled its appeal for help finding a temporary space to locate its emergency homeless shelter.

Board members are concerned that without replacement space its current population of 45 clients will join Kelowna’s roster of homeless people who live rough on the streets..

“Unless we find new space, however temporary, we will have to close our doors Sept. 30 and at that moment, the population of homeless people living rough on Kelowna’s streets will jump by almost 25 per cent,” reports the Inn’s executive director Jan Schulz, referring to the date when the inn’s current lease will terminate due to the sale of their current space for redevelopment.

The inn will consider any space in any location, including churches, halls, industrial units, buildings awaiting redevelopment, virtually any space where they can house some of Kelowna’s most vulnerable, the release said.

Noting that the situation for these people and others will become significantly grimmer and potentially life-threatening as winter approaches, Schulz said relocating the inn’s homeless population to another shelter is not an option. All three of Kelowna’s emergency homeless shelters are currently at or beyond capacity.

The first to admit that shelters are not the solution to address homelessness, Schulz says that “Nothing would make us happier than if we were able to work ourselves out of a job.” Rather than primarily relying on shelters, Schulz points to Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy as the solution: a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan to ending homelessness in Kelowna.

“Unfortunately, Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy, which includes permanent, purpose-built modular housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, won’t come soon enough, which is why we are desperate to find an alternative shelter location to bridge the gap” says Schulz.

READ MORE: Long-awaited homelessness strategy presented to Kelowna council

Members of the public who may know of possible space options for the Inn are urged to contact Schulz at jan@innfromthecoldkelowna.org.

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