The Recreation Ave. camp from Dec. 2019. (Kelowna Capital News)

The Recreation Ave. camp from Dec. 2019. (Kelowna Capital News)

Construction begins on homeless shelter near downtown Kelowna

The BC Housing project is anticipated to be completed by the fall

A new 38-unit homeless shelter is now under construction on Ellis Street near downtown Kelowna.

Shovels were in the ground Thursday, July 2, at 1055 and 1063 Ellis Street — nearby the current city-sanctioned outdoor camp on Recreation Avenue.

The BC Housing project is anticipated to be completed by the fall.

“Homelessness is an evolving, dynamic crisis in our community, and these kinds of partnerships go a long way towards creating solutions,” said Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran on May 20, when the project was announced. “This is a strategic land investment that will not only create much-needed solutions in the short term but also has long-term potential with a future land use designation for multi-storey residential housing. In addition to being close to downtown, this property is ideally located adjacent to existing municipal park space and could fulfil many different civic objectives after expiry of the lease.”

The three-storey modular apartment building will include 38 self-contained studio units with private washrooms, showers and kitchens. The building will also include a commercial kitchen, dining and lounge areas, storage and amenity space, laundry and a medical room.

The Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna will operate the new housing. It will provide residents with on-site staff and support services at all hours. This includes meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work.

The province is providing $9.5 million to the project, as well as an annual operating subsidy of $1.3 million.

The property, previously listed for sale at nearly $2 million, has been leased to the province by the City of Kelowna for 10 years.

READ MORE: ‘We need to re-think our systems’: Kelowna mayor on RCMP Southeast Division statement

READ MORE: New supportive housing project for Kelowna’s homeless skips usual rezoning process

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