The City of Kelowna is again applying for a grant for its outdoor sheltering program.
Staff successfully applied for $3.2 million through the Strengthening Communities Services Grant last year. This year the city will be trying to secure $1.2 million.
It is also the last year the grant is available.
Through the Safe Restart funding announced in 2021 by the Government of Canada and the Province of B.C., $100 million was allocated for the Strengthening Communities’ Services Program.
A staff report to council states the COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in unsheltered homelessness, and related community health and safety challenges in many communities, including Kelowna. Unsheltered homeless are defined as people who lack housing and are not accessing emergency shelters or accommodation, except during extreme weather conditions.
The grant will assist local governments to improve the health and safety of unsheltered homeless people living in public or private spaces, and reduce community concerns about public health and safety in neighbourhoods where unsheltered homeless populations are seeking temporary shelter and services.
The staff report also states the grant will help improve coordination among eligible applicants and health/social service providers, Indigenous organizations, and others working on housing, homelessness, and services.