12:47 PM

Housing opens for people who are homeless in Kelowna

KELOWNA – More people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna will have safe and secure homes before winter with the opening of Hearthstone, a 46-unit supportive housing project with 24/7 support services.

“These homes will help get people indoors, and just as important, into a supportive environment where they will have the services they need to rebuild their lives and prepare to move on to more permanent housing,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This benefits everyone in Kelowna. By addressing homelessness, we’re working to raise the quality of life of everyone in our communities.”

As a part of the Province’s Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness Program, the new homes are opening this week at 1642 Commerce Ave.

“We are really happy to see Hearthstone open. It’s an important step toward creating a larger inventory of supported housing in Kelowna and keeps us on the path to fulfilling our Journey Home strategy,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “We appreciate the investment BC Housing is making in our community and helping us address our need for more housing for those who are most vulnerable in our city.”

Hearthstone is a three-storey, modular-constructed building. Each unit is 31.7 square metres (341 square feet) and has its own kitchen and bathroom. Five of the units are wheelchair accessible.

The building features a communal kitchen, dining area, lounge with access to an outdoor deck, a secured entry and a medical room. The site has a dog run and storage for residents’ possessions.

“We are thrilled to add Hearthstone to our continuum of housing,” said Gaelene Askeland, executive director, John Howard Society of Central and South Okanagan. “This new modular building will provide a safe, caring, stable environment for vulnerable women and men who have been living without homes in Kelowna.”

The John Howard Society will operate the building and provide residents with access to around-the-clock on-site staff and support services including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.

Questions or comments can be sent to: communityrelations@bchousing.org.

Quick Facts:

  • The Province is investing $8 million in capital and construction costs for the 1642 Commerce Ave. building, and will provide an annual operating subsidy.
  • This temporary supportive housing project will be in operation for up to four years, allowing residents the opportunity to transition to more permanent housing.
  • The homes are funded through the Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness program, part of a provincewide investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C., and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services. More than 2,000 of these homes have been announced in 22 B.C.communities.
  • Budget 2018 provides further supports for people experiencing or at risk of homelessness through investment in an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services.
  • The housing at 1642 Commerce Ave. builds on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In October 2018, the B.C. government introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. Informed by thousands of people who participated in a comprehensive public consultation, the act sets out targets and defines the scope of the Poverty Reduction Strategy, which is scheduled to be released in early 2019.

Learn More:
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: https://www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf

To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: https://news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges

Learn more about B.C.’s commitment to reduce poverty for the people of B.C.: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/bcpovertyreduction

To learn more about the City of Kelowna’s Journey Home Strategy, visit: https://www.kelowna.ca/our-community/journey-home-addressing-homelessness

A backgrounder follows.


Lindsay Byers
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
250 952-0617

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604 456-8917



Services and supports provided for modular housing

All new modular housing buildings in the province are being provided with around-the-clock staffing to help youth, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.

The Province is investing $170 million over three years to help those with the highest housing needs build new beginnings. Experienced non-profit housing providers will provide support to tenants based on assessed needs.

Some of the services and supports that will be provided to youth, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless, include:

  • Meals
  • Connecting residents to community supports, such as education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services
  • Individual or group support services, such as life skills, community information and social and recreational programs
  • Case planning and needs assessment
  • Other supports designed to assist residents in meeting their personal and housing goals, including culturally specific programs
  • Help accessing income assistance, pension benefits, disability benefits, obtaining a B.C. identification card or establishing a bank account
  • Support for residents to learn how to operate and maintain a home
  • No-cost laundry services, either on or off site


Lindsay Byers
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
250 952-0617

Rajvir Rao
BC Housing
604 456-8917