Kelowna’s newest supportive housing development is ready for residents.
The official opening of the 46-unit Hearthstone housing project is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
Located on Commerce Avenue, between Highway 97 and Enterprise Way, the modular housing project was built by B.C. Housing and consists of 46 studio suites, a common dining area, amenity space, a commercial kitchen and room for support services.
“We understand that shelter providers in Kelowna are experiencing significant pressure from high occupancy rates and many of their clients are dealing with mental-health and addiction issues,” said provincial housing minister Selina Robinson at the ground-breaking for the project earlier this year.
“These new homes will alleviate some of that pressure and provide much-needed access to support programs that will help these people reclaim their lives.”
It will be operated by the John Howard Society and house individuals with diverse needs, including homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse, says the society.
Each unit is furnished and includes a three-piece bathroom and kitchenette.
There is also secure storage space for bikes and personal belongings.
Five of the units are wheelchair accessible.
To ensure the safety of residents, the building will be staffed 24/7, have controlled access, and have CCTV in common areas.
Residents will have access to meal programs, life and employment training support, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
The development helps the city meet some of the goals of its Journey Home strategy to address homelessness. The strategy called for 300 units of supportive housing over the next five years in Kelowna.
“This is an important step on our journey to address homelessness in Kelowna,” said Basran at the ground-breaking.
He said the city has enjoyed a long and successful relationship with B.C. Housing that has resulted in several social housing developments in Kelowna over the years including the Cardington Apartments downtown on St. Paul Street and New Gate in Rutland, which the John Howard Society also manages.
In addition to Hearthstone another 100 units of supportive housing are expected to be built by the province in the city next year.
Hearthstone is slated to be in place for just four years, according to the province. But, it adds,the development could pave the way for additional, similar supportive housing units.
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