Kelowna’s Inn From The Cold shelter is currently located on Sutherland Avenue. —Google Maps

Kelowna’s Inn From The Cold shelter gets one-month lease reprieve

Shelter will be allowed to stay in its current Sutherland Avenue location until the end of October.

Inn from the Cold is getting a temporary reprieve from its scheduled departure from its current location.

The emergency shelter housing 45 homeless people in Kelowna, has been granted a one-month extension on its current lease, which was due to expire Sept. 30.

“No new locations have surfaced despite tremendous support from the media in getting our message out about the need for new space,” said executive director Jan Schulz.

While numerous suitable locations have been identified, space owners or leasers are unwilling to rent to a homeless shelter, even with the Inn’s pledge to minimize impact on surrounding community and ‘good neighbor protocols’ it will employ, said Schulz.

“We’ve been granted a bit of a reprieve, and for that we are most grateful. We remain optimistic that new space will be found, but if not, Kelowna’s population of those living rough on the streets will spike by 25 per cent come Nov. 1.”

The Inn’s plight will gain further attention come Sept. 29, when the Inn holds its seventh annual Push to End Homelessness, an Amazing Race-style fundraiser with sponsored teams pushing shopping carts on a winding course through the downtown core. The event will run 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting at Kerry Park and everyone is invited to come out to cheer on competing teams.

Funds raised will go towards supporting a range of services beyond the emergency shelter that the Inn From The Cold provides to the homeless and marginalized in Kelowna. For more information or to make a donation to a registered team, go to https://www.innfromthecoldkelowna.org/events-fundraisers/push-to-end- homlessness/.

“Regardless of our emergency shelter’s future, which is in jeopardy if new space cannot be found, we will continue to support the homeless with case management, which connects the homeless with required support services, in-home support for those adjusting to being newly homed and the Kelowna Kodiaks, which offers the homeless and marginalized an opportunity to participate and benefit from the team-building sport of soccer,” said Schultz.

While the the shelter will take any space at this point, the hope is for a 2,500-square-foot or larger warehouse- type facility, with one large open room, preferably in an industrial part of town away from downtown. Minimal kitchen facilities are needed and Inn From The Cold will augment onsite washroom facilities, as necessary.

Officials say ideally, they would would like a one-year lease with the opportunity to extend.

Anyone willing to consider renting space, at least for the winter season, is asked to contact Schulz at jan@innfromthecoldkelowna.org.

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