Another 60 temporary Kelowna homes coming for people in need
KELOWNA - Sixty temporary homes will soon be available for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna as construction gets underway on the second project created through an agreement between the Province and the city.
"These new homes ensure that more vulnerable people in Kelowna have a safe, warm place to stay, with access to the supports they need to stabilize their lives," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "We know these are only temporary options and there is more to do to create the permanent homes that lead to safer and healthier communities. I'm committed to working with the City of Kelowna and our non-profit partners to bring in more permanent supportive housing to address homelessness and the housing security challenges many are struggling with."
Located on city-owned land at 2740 Hwy. 97 N., a new modular housing development will include 60 temporary supportive homes. These new homes will be operated by an experienced non-profit organization that will provide support services, including daily meals, 24/7 staffing, access to skills training and support navigating the housing system. People moving into these homes will be assessed and matched with appropriate supports.
The Province, through BC Housing, is providing a grant of approximately $3.9 million for the homes from the new Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program and will provide annual operating funding.
"Every effort that helps people access safe and dignified housing options is a step in the right direction," said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. "These rooms will reduce the number of people needing to shelter outside and allow people to connect more easily with health and wellness services. We are thankful the Province is taking meaningful action to address homelessness in our community through the HEART (Homeless Encampment Action Response Teams) and HEARTH program investments, which will help people transition from temporary to permanent housing."
Work on the site will begin in December with an expected opening date in early 2024. BC Housing and the city will provide opportunities for neighbours in the immediate area to learn more about the development.
The modular housing development follows a recent announcement of a 60-unit tiny-home development at 759 Crowley Ave. Both projects are intended as temporary housing solutions, providing time for BC Housing to continue working with the city to identify and build new permanent supportive housing.
The Province has more than 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway throughout the province, including more than 1,700 homes in Kelowna.
- 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 city are partnering to implement HEART a new multidisciplinary regional program designed to rapidly respond to encampments to better help people sheltering outdoors move inside.
- The HEART program brings together the provincial and local governments, Indigenous partners, health-care agencies and non-profit organizations to 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.
To read the MOU, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BC-MOU_Kelowna_HEART-HEARTH.pdf
To learn about the HEART and HEARTH programs, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/HEART-HEARTH