Man experiencing homelessness lying on the bench. (File photo)

Man experiencing homelessness lying on the bench. (File photo)

CMHA opens fourth supportive housing in Kelowna

Ellis Place will open on the first week of November

The Canadian Mental Health Association’s (CMHA) Kelowna branch is opening its fourth supportive housing in the city.

Ellis Place, located at 1055 Ellis Street, will house people who are at risk of or are experiencing homelessness and will open on the first week of November.

The three-storey building has 38 units, with its private washroom, shower, kitchen, sleeping and living space in each unit. The building also includes a commercial kitchen, dining and lounge areas, storage and amenity space, laundry, and a medical room.

Establishing the building was expedited through a partnership between the City of Kelowna and the provincial government to provide more housing and support options, especially during the current pandemic.

CMHA Kelowna staff will be on-site 24-7 and there will be in-house supports including meal programs, peer support, and health and wellness services available to residents.

Interior Health along with CMHA Kelowna staff will also launch a collaborative initiative to provide additional supports that will address health, mental health, and substance use concerns on-site.

“We anticipate this unique partnership will be a game-changer for residents and for the community,” CMHA Kelowna executive director Shelagh Turner said.

“With the addition of Ellis Place to our other housing in the community, our organization is now providing more than 200 individuals with a place to call home. And we are also connecting them with supports that will help them to stay housed and move forward in their wellness journey.”

Turner added Ellis Place marks a significant step in advancing the city’s Journey Home Strategy with its goal of adding 300 units of supportive housing.

“We are proud of the role we are playing in the community’s collective commitment to ending homelessness,” she said.

Director of service delivery and program innovation Mike Gawliuk said the fact that Ellis Place was a modular project worked well.

“The biggest thing about this is it’s a nice new building and compared to a conventional build, it (only) took four months to get up and running and for people who had been outside, that’s major,” he said.

READ MORE: Winter shelter spaces opening in Kelowna

Twila Amato
Video journalist, Black Press Okanagan
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