More affordable rental housing for Kelowna

Province and feds teaming up to turn a former motel into 44 self-contained units for those in danger of becoming homeless.

The former Econo Lodge motel on GordonDrive in Kelowna.

A former Kelowna motel is being turned into affordable rental housing for people at risk of homelessness in the city.

The provincial government has announced it and the federal government have provided $5 million for the purchase and renovation of the former Econo Lodge motel at 1780 Gordon Drive.

Under the plan, the province, which recently bought the motel, will continue to own it and B.C. Housing will operate the 44 self-contained units for people with low incomes who are able to live independently but struggle to find suitable affordable housing in this area.

Onsite staff will work with tenants on an individual basis to connect them with service providers for supports.

“We welcome this addition to the City of Kelowna’s spectrum of housing options for people who don’t have a permanent place to live, or are at  risk of being homeless,”said Mayor Colin Basran.

“It’s another great example of governments working together to fund solutions for new affordable housing options in Kelowna.”

The motel site, just off Harvey Avenue and across the street from the Capri Mall, will give residents easy access to transit, amenities and retail services.

The building is expected to be ready for occupancy this fall.

A recent count of the homeless in Kelowna pegged the number at 223 people living on the street.

“The B.C. government is committed to increasing safe, affordable housing options, and converting existing buildings into affordable rental housing is a model that has proven successful in a number of communities,” said Premier Christy Clark, who is also the MLA for Westside-Kelowna.

“It’s going to give 44 individuals or families a place to call home.”