Updated: 11:56 a.m.
The province and the City of Kelowna are working together to provide individuals experiencing, or at risk of, homelessness with access to more supportive housing and shelter spaces, according to the province.
“Our government is taking immediate action to help people struggling with homelessness get off the streets and into safe shelter and suitable housing where they can access the support services they need,” said Selina Robinson, minister of municipal affairs and housing. “These projects are an important start to addressing the growing issue of homelessness in Kelowna, while we continue to work with our community partners to develop permanent and sustainable housing options.”
The province is taking several steps to help those in the community who need it most, including:
As an immediate response to the cold winter months ahead, approximately 80 temporary shelter beds are opening at the former A&B Sound at 425 Leon Ave., which will be operated by the John Howard Society. The shelter will be open from Nov. 30 to March 2018 and staffed 24/7. Guests will be offered services such as three meals per day, storage for their belongings and access to health and wellness services.
New modular supportive housing
The Province has proposed to create approximately 52 units of new, modular housing with supports, through a funding commitment of $8.1 million. The city is working with BC Housing to finalize a location. The opening date for the project will depend on when the site is selected, according to the province.
This is part of the province’s commitment to invest $291 million to build 2,000 modular units over two years throughout B.C. by working in partnership with local governments.
Additional supportive housing
Pending approval of a development permit from the City of Kelowna, people who are struggling with homelessness will have access to approximately 55 units of supportive housing, located on property leased by BC Housing, at 1642 Commerce Ave., according to the province.
This currently available modular housing will be repurposed, which will allow BC Housing to expedite the delivery and installation of the units. The Province has allocated $3.4 million in capital funding for this project.
Twenty supportive housing units will also be available at the former Good Night Inn, at 2639 Highway 97, while BC Housing finalizes renovation plans for the building, which will feature more longer-term housing. It will be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association and will remain open until the supportive housing at Commerce Avenue is ready for occupation.
“We are very pleased with the province’s reinvigorated investments in housing solutions for Kelowna,” said Doug Gilchrist, divisional director of community planning and strategic investments. “These investments will add a variety of housing options to address a spectrum of needs in our community.”
Residents and businesses will be informed of all the projects through ongoing community outreach.
A new temporary winter shelter opened its doors last night, Nov. 30.
The John Howard Society has leased a property on Leon Avenue at the former A&B Sound location.
According to Randy Bensen, executive director of the Gospel Mission, the nonprofit will provide two meals a day for the homeless shelter.
The story will be updated as more information becomes available.
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