Kelowna to open temporary housing to help homeless

The beds will open up space at Cornerstone and Kelowna Gospel Mission

Warm indoor shelter will soon be available for those sheltering outside.

B.C. Housing, the John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay and the City of Kelowna have partnered together to provide 40 beds at a city-owned property.

The site will be operated by the John Howard Society and funded by the provincial government.

The building, located at 555 Fuller Avenue, will temporarily house 40 people who already have beds at Cornerstone and the Kelowna Gospel Mission to free up space at those two shelters for those who are currently out on the streets or camping at Recreation Avenue.

“The temporary housing will be available until Mar. 31,” said Michelle LaBoucane, a representative for the John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay.

After that, she said those living at 555 Fuller Avenue will then be moved into the McIntosh Road Supportive Housing so the building can be demolished to make way for affordable housing.

READ MORE: Residents rally to support those experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

READ MORE: Knox Mountain, north end Kelowna residents gather to petition city over homeless camp

“Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to call home,” said Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Selina Robinson.

“This project will create space for more people to come inside off the streets as we work to build urgently needed permanent supportive housing in Kelowna.”

The temporary shelter will open in mid-December once renovations are finished. The John Howard Society will provide the beds, meals, washrooms, and amenity space. At least two staff members will be on site around the clock.

B.C. Housing is working with the City of Kelowna as it decides on another location for an additional temporary winter space.

Central Okanagan Journey Home Society’s board chair Kyleen Myrah said they are excited about the new bridge housing.

“The Journey Home Strategy calls for diverse forms of housing, and this housing at 555 Fuller Avenue to bridge people from the shelter system into housing with supports is an example of that needed diversity of options,” Myrah said.

“While we acknowledge this accomplishment, we recognize there is still work to be done and we will continue to work with our partners on the short-, medium- and long-term solutions to address homelessness in our community.”

The new temporary housing comes after residents sheltering in tents on Leon Avenue were relocated to the baseball diamond on Recreation Avenue and to Poplar Point at the base of Knox Mountain.

Since last week’s move, north end residents have held protests in response to the relocation. Many have cited safety concerns, while others criticized the City of Kelowna for the lack of notice and perceived poor planning.

On Monday afternoon, residents rallied in support of those sheltering outside. Around 20 individuals gathered outside city hall, calling on the local government to provide more shelter before temperatures drop further and more snow sticks around.

relocation


@twilamam
twila.amato@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

EDITORIAL: Managing wildfires

Wildfires have the potential to cause significant damage within our province

Number of Kelowna-linked COVID-19 cases grows to 159

Interior Health reported four new cases region-wide on Friday, 18 remain active

Drowning incidents increase in Okanagan as summer picks up

There are now 23 drownings in the province to date, with four from the Okanagan

Okanagan, Creston cherry and apple farms in need of workers

The worker shortage is due to the COVID-19 restrictions on international travel

New team focuses on troublesome Kelowna properties

Recently, a property owner was handed six tickets amounting to over $2,500

53 new COVID-19 cases, no new deaths cap off week of high infection rates in B.C.

Roughly 1,500 people are self-isolating because they either have COVID-19 or have been exposed to it

North Okanagan ranch needs support to stay afloat

Founded in 1867, a fundraiser has been launched for the Historic O’Keefe Ranch

Video: Enraged man terrifies staff and customers at Shuswap restaurant

Video on Facebook shows the man hurling profanity at workers during the dinner rush on Aug. 7.

Pup stolen from Vernon temporary shelter reunited with owner

Nicola Sanders says her son’s puppy was ‘overjoyed’ to see her owner again

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Gene editing debate takes root with organic broccoli, new UBC research shows

Broccoli is one of the best-known vegetables with origins in this scientific haze

VIDEO: U.S. Air Force pilot does fly-by for B.C. son amid COVID border separation

Sky-high father-son visit plays out over White Rock Pier

3 Vancouver police officers test positive for COVID after responding to large party

Union president says other officers are self-isolating due to possible exposure

New mothers with COVID-19 should still breastfeed: Canada’s top doctor

Dr. Theresa Tam made the recommendation during World Breastfeeding Awareness Week

Most Read