Over 100 new shelter spaces opening for vulnerable people in Kamloops

November 9, 2021 at 3:53 pm  BC, News, Politics

The Province, through BC Housing, is working with the City of Kamloops to open three new shelters to provide approximately 115 spaces for people experiencing homelessness.

“We are working to make sure people in Kamloops have access to a safe, warm place to spend the night,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “We know there is more to do, and I’m committed to working with the city and our non-profit partners to bring in more permanent supportive housing for vulnerable people in Kamloops and more affordable rentals to address homelessness and the housing security and affordability challenges many are struggling with.”

Guests at the shelters will have access to daily warm meals, hygiene facilities, referral to health programming if needed, and staff that are available around the clock. The three shelters will be opened at the following locations:

  • 245 St. Paul St. – approximately 25 beds; expected to open in November or December 2021.
  • 600 Kingston Ave. – 40 beds; expected to open early 2022.
  • 725 Notre Dame Dr.– approximately 50 beds; expected to open early 2022.

The shelter at 245 St. Paul St. will be set up as quickly as possible inside the gymnasium of the former Stuart Wood school. With support from Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc, the city has leased the site to BC Housing until March 31, 2022.

Construction will begin soon on the new temporary shelter, named Moira House, located at 600 Kingston Ave. The site is vacant and owned by the City of Kamloops. It has been leased to the Province, through BC Housing, for three years with an option to extend for up to two additional years. When construction is complete, the shelter will be open around the clock, providing much-needed shelter beds for those who do not have a home.

The third shelter, named Merit Place, will open at 725 Notre Dame Dr. inside the former Greyhound bus depot. Once renovations to the building are complete, it will provide the necessary space to relocate guests currently staying at Memorial Arena. This will enable the Province to return the arena to the city for recreational use. The building has been leased to BC Housing for 18 months.

“Providing shelter and support to our most vulnerable residents is the first step on a path to wellness,” said Ken Christian, mayor of Kamloops. “Council has actively been pursuing better options than Memorial Arena and is excited to see this historic facility put back into recreational use, and to see those experiencing homelessness get a more appropriate temporary home as we continue to work with BC Housing to increase the supply of housing across the entire continuum in Kamloops.”

All three shelters will be managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) with operational support from Out of the Cold. Both are experienced in providing shelter housing in Kamloops.

“Shelters are much-needed safe spaces for the most vulnerable in our community. Individuals can thrive as they are connected to supports, case management, street nurses, client engagement specialists and many other multidisciplinary staff. They can gain meaningful skills to successfully reintegrate into our community, make cultural connections and be protected from sleeping outside,” said Alfred Achoba, executive director, CMHA Kamloops.

The Province is providing almost $1.8 million toward construction of the Kingston shelter through the Homelessness Action Plan and $1.8 million for CMHA to operate the site. The Province is working on the operating and construction budgets for the other two sites.

In addition to these shelters, the City of Kamloops will conduct a land-use analysis and community consultation in the coming months. The results will help BC Housing and the City of Kamloops identify areas suitable for permanent shelter and supportive housing projects in the future.

Quick Facts:

  • The addition of these three shelters will increase Kamloops’ shelter capacity to approximately 190 shelter beds for the winter.
  • The Province, through BC Housing, has opened 160 supportive homes in Kamloops since 2017, with an additional 79 in progress.
  • For other questions or concerns, visit the Let’s Talk pages for each shelter online:

Learn More:

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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