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Sixty temporary homes coming for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

November 1, 2023 at 4:22 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

People experiencing homelessness in Kelowna will soon have access to 60 new temporary homes as part of an agreement recently announced by the Province and City of Kelowna.

“As part of our Belonging in BC plan, this site will provide interim housing options for people experiencing homelessness in the community, while more permanent options are being considered,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “These new homes will help prevent and reduce homelessness by providing immediate shelter and supports to people in encampments or sheltering in public spaces. We will continue to work with partners to make sure people in Kelowna have safe and affordable homes they need.”

Located on city-owned land at 759 Crowley Ave., a new tiny-home development will provide 60 single-room units of supportive housing that are quick and easy to install.  

“I’m very excited to see this tiny village take shape,” said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. “This is an innovative approach that brings swift and meaningful action to our community. This addresses housing gaps, helps people transition to safe, dignified shelter and ultimately reduces the number of individuals sheltering outside. As partners, we’re working diligently together and look forward to welcoming people into these new units as soon as possible.”

These new homes will be operated by an experienced non-profit organization that will provide support services such as daily meals, 24/7 staffing, access to skills training and support navigating the housing system. Individuals moving into these new homes will be assessed and matched with appropriate supports.

The Province, through BC Housing, is providing a grant of approximately $5.4 million for homes from the new Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program, and will provide an annual operating funding of approximately $2.7 million.

The tiny-home development is intended as a temporary housing solution, providing time for BC Housing to continue working with the City to identify new permanent supportive housing. This site will be part of a pilot to evaluate tiny homes as a response to homelessness in B.C.

Work on the site has begun with the goal of welcoming people into the new units in early 2024. BC Housing and the city will provide opportunities for neighbours in the immediate area to learn more about the tiny village.

A second site, providing an additional 60 temporary units of modular workforce housing, will be announced when details are confirmed.

The Province has nearly 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway for people throughout the province, including more than 1,700 homes in Kelowna.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province and the City of Kelowna recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that formalizes their commitment to work together to better support people who are unhoused, sheltering in encampments, and to help prevent encampments in the future.
  • Through the MOU, the city commits to bring forward available land and expedite land-use decisions for new shelter and supportive housing projects.
  • In addition to the HEARTH program, the Province and the City are partnering to implement Homeless Encampment Action Response Teams (HEART), a new multidisciplinary regional program designed to rapidly respond to encampments to better support people sheltering outdoors to move inside.
  • The HEART program will bring together the provincial and local governments, Indigenous partners, health-care agencies and non-profit organizations to quickly assess the needs of people sheltering in encampments and provide rapid access to the supports and services they need to find a home.
  • Both the HEART and HEARTH programs are part of Belonging in BC, the Province’s plan to prevent and reduce homelessness.
  • The plan will also add 3,900 new supportive housing units, 240 complex-care housing units and 3,000 supported rent supplements provincewide.

Learn More:

To read the memorandum of understanding, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BC-MOU_Kelowna_HEART-HEARTH.pdf

For information about HEART and HEARTH program, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/HEART-HEARTH

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