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More homes, shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

More homes, shelter spaces for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

December 3, 2019 at 2:03 pm  BC, News, Politics

Forty people who have been accepted into under-construction supportive housing will soon be moving into temporary bridge housing, making way for more people experiencing homelessness to access shelter spaces.

The City of Kelowna has identified the site for a 40-unit temporary housing project that will be funded by the Province and operated by the John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay.

“Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to call home. 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,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “I want to thank the city, the John Howard Society and everyone who has worked with us to provide these homes.”

The new temporary housing is located at 555 Fuller Ave. It will serve as bridge housing for people who are currently staying in shelters and have been accepted into the new supportive housing opening at 280 McIntosh Rd. in spring 2020.

“We are pleased the Province and BC Housing are working with us to find solutions to homelessness,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “This temporary solution will free up much-needed shelter space for those currently sheltering outside during the winter months.”

The temporary housing is set to open in mid-December following renovations of the existing building and will close on March 31, 2020. The John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay will provide residents with beds, meals, washrooms and amenity space. At least two staff members will be on site around the clock. The society will provide information about the project and contact details for neighbours and community members who may have questions or concerns. The society also operates 125 units of supportive housing and 80 shelter spaces in Kelowna.

“We are excited to open new supportive housing at 280 McIntosh Rd., scheduled for the spring of 2020,” said Dawn Himer, executive director, John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay. “And now that we’re opening a temporary housing option at 555 Fuller Ave., we can offer more opportunities for individuals seeking support this winter.”

BC Housing continues to work with the City of Kelowna as it decides on a location for another temporary winter shelter space in the community.

“The society is very glad to see this form of housing moving forward,” said Kyleen Myrah, board chair, Central Okanagan Journey Home Society. “The Journey Home Strategy calls for diverse forms of housing, and this housing at 555 Fuller Ave. to bridge people from the shelter system into housing with supports is an example of that needed diversity of options. 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.”

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • BC Housing funds three permanent shelters in Kelowna, providing a combined 160 shelter spaces to people experiencing homelessness in the community.
  • In addition to shelters, there are three provincially funded supportive housing projects in development in the Kelowna area that will provide more than 150 units for people experiencing homelessness. Two of the projects are expected to open in spring 2020, while the third will be ready in 2021.
  • BC Housing currently provides rent subsidies for 184 people or households who were experiencing homelessness, enabling them to live and rent in the private market.
  • The Province, through BC Housing, has opened close to 2,100 units of supportive housing, with over 800 more underway. These developments are part of the Province’s commitment to build 4,700 units of supportive housing over 10 years.

Learn More:

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: www.bchousing.org/Options/Emergency_Housing/Map

A map showing the location of all announced provincially funded housing projects in B.C. is available online: https://www.bchousing.org/homes-for-BC

To learn about the steps the Province is taking to tackle the housing crisis and deliver affordable homes for British Columbians, visit: https://workingforyou.gov.bc.ca/

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