Hot on the heels of a controversial supportive housing project getting a green light in Kelowna, another project has been announced.
The province is building more supportive housing for people in Kelowna experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
“We know homelessness is a problem that has been ignored for too long in the region and around the province. We need to act now and build more homes for people who need them,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, in a press release.
“Projects like this not only get people out of the cold and into safe, secure housing, they also help people rebuild their lives with the right supports, dignity and respect.”
The project at 280 McIntosh Rd., in Rutland, is funded through the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund and will include up to 50 homes. Residents will have a self-contained studio with a private washroom and kitchenette.
“Everyone deserves safe, secure shelter,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “As addressed in the Journey Home Strategy and our community plan, these new homes will help house some of our community’s most vulnerable residents.”
The project will be operated by the John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan. Staff will be onsite 24/7 and will provide support services to tenants, such as daily meals, life skills training, resume building and access to employment opportunities. This is a permanent supportive housing project that will prepare residents to transition into market rental housing.
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“We are so pleased to be partnering with BC Housing to provide these safe, secure new homes that give people a real opportunity to rebuild their lives,” said Gaelene Askeland, executive director, John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan. “We look forward to being part of the community at 280 McIntosh Rd. As with all our projects, we are committed to be a good neighbour building safe communities, both inside our buildings and with those who live and work in the surrounding area.”
“We know that access to safe and affordable housing contributes to one’s health and well-being. Poor housing quality and instability is linked with a number of physical and mental health conditions,” said Danielle Cameron, health service administrator, Interior Health, mental health and substance use. “The new supportive homes at 280 McIntosh will provide at least 50 people with the stabilized housing they need to recover and/or remain healthy.”
Contingent on permit approvals, construction is estimated to begin in spring 2019 and to be completed by fall 2019.
* The Government of B.C. will provide $2.95 million for the project and will also provide an operating subsidy.
* During the 2018 point-in-time counts of homelessness conducted in March, 286 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.
* Residents will be charged a monthly rental rate of $375, the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province to those experiencing homelessness.
* The Supportive Housing Fund is an investment of $1.2 billion over 10 years to build 2,500 homes with 24/7 support to help people experiencing homelessness.
* This project builds on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In October 2018, the B.C. government introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. Informed by thousands of people who participated in a comprehensive public consultation, the act sets out targets and defines the scope of the poverty reduction strategy, which is scheduled to be released in early 2019.
For more information about the project: www.bchousing.org/kelowna-mcintosh