First building in Kelowna’s Central Green ready to open

The Karis Support Society's facility for women recovering from mental health and addiction issues will start accepting residents next month.

The first building on the expansive Central Green site in Kelowna will be ready to welcome its first residents next month.

The Karis Support Society’s three storey, 24,000-square-foot building, at the south-west corner off Rowcliffe Avenue, is complete and will provide support and addiction recovery services for adult women dealing with mental health issues and substance abuse.

Deborah Klassen, the facility’s manager, said an open house will be held tomorrow to show off the new facility to its neighbours. It replaces 12 individual houses scattered around the city that the Karis Support Society has been operating to provide the same services. The 12 houses will be sold off, said Klassen.

“We are one of only two buildings of their kind in B.C., the other is in the Lower Mainland,” she said. “So we have referrals from across B.C. and even from back East.”

As a result, the facility will be full from day one.

The building is part of a large mixed-use development going onto the Central Green site, which at one time was home to Kelowna Senior Secondary School.

Sold off in parcels by the city, the land is slated to house residential developments of all kinds, including multi-family, social housing and a large park.

The Karis Support Society’s building was built by Davara Holdings, which bought one parcel which it is leasing to the society.

Klassen said while some neighbours in the Rowcliffe Avenue area admitted they were hesitant when they first heard the building was going in, now they are very accepting and supportive. “The reception from the neighbourhood has been good,” said Klassen. “Some have said they are very impressed with the building.”

Adult women, some with children, will be offered different levels of support and accommodation at the 36-bed facility, ranging from services for women straight off the street dealing with immediate issues, to after-care and self-contained living for other residents.

Women at the facility who have children can stay there until their children reach the age of two.

Klassen said Karis works with the Ministry of Children and Family Development, as well as Interior Health and other groups, to provide services for all its residents.

The public open house is from 1 to 5 p.m. on Thursday at 550 Rowcliffe Avenue in Kelowna.


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