Homeless shelter in Kelowna’s old A&B Sound will be up and running for another year

Cornerstone shelter to remain open until March 2019

Cornerstone temporary shelter will remain open at least another year, the provincial government announced Thursday.

The shelter that occupies the old A&B Sound will remain open until March 31, 2019 and the John Howard Society will continue to oversee operation of the shelter. Its extensive experience and expertise working with those who are homeless makes the society a valuable partner at this location.

READ MORE: CORNERSTONE ALLEVIATES PRESSURE ON LOCAL SHELTERS

BC Housing and the John Howard Society have met regularly with neighbouring residents, local businesses and the City of Kelowna to address concerns about the shelter, and will continue to identify alternate locations.

In an interview earlier this year, Kelowna’s John Howard Society executive director Gaelene Askeland said the operation had been full since it opened.

Each day there are “hiccups and bumps” as they nail down a routine, but Askeland said overall it’s been running well.

“We have a great team of staff who are doing a great job and we’re doing the best with what we have to work with,” she said. “We’re grateful we have the space we do…Every day is another opportunity to keep people alive.”

BC Housing will also continue working with the community to find other locations for supportive housing in order to provide stable, longer-term housing, such as the proposed supportive housing project on Commerce Avenue.

The Cornerstone shelter has 80 mats, which have been fully occupied on most nights throughout this past winter. Other shelters in the community are also near capacity on most nights.

By keeping the Cornerstone shelter open for the next year, BC Housing is ensuring those who are homeless in the community have a place to stay.

  • The proposed housing project on Commerce Avenue is part of a provincewide investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes around the province, and more than $170 million over three years to provide 24/7 staffing and support services.
  • Through this program, more than 1,500 new homes for people most in need have started development throughout the province.
  • Budget 2018 provides further supports for people struggling with homelessness, with the announcement of an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services.
  • The Province is working to develop a homelessness action plan to reduce homelessness through prevention, as well as permanent housing and services.

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