New 60-bed shelter open in Kelowna
KELOWNA - People experiencing homelessness in Kelowna now have access to 60 new year- round shelter beds.
"These new shelter spaces will provide 60 people in Kelowna with a bed and supports to help them stay safe, warm and fed, while we continue to work with our partners to open permanent supportive housing across the city," said Murray Rankin, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. "These new homes will make a significant difference in people's lives. The whole community will benefit when those in need receive the supports they need to rebuild their lives."
Located at 858 Ellis St., the Bay Avenue shelter is the result of collaboration between the Province, through BC Housing, and Kelowna Gospel Mission (KGM). The Bay Avenue shelter will replace the 60-unit shelter at 550 Doyle Ave., which closed July 1, 2022.
The shelter has 60 individual sleeping pods, shared washrooms, storage spaces and other amenities. Guests will have access to daily hot meals, laundry services and security, as well as support accessing health and wellness services. The shelter will have staff on site around the clock.
The shelter will be open until March 31, 2023.
KGM, an experienced non-profit housing provider, will operate the Bay Avenue shelter. KGM also manages a shelter on Leon Street and managed the now-closed Doyle Avenue shelter.
"This shelter is one piece of a large system of supports that various service providers work together to create in our city," said Carmen Rempel, executive director, KGM. "We are eager to bring 60 people off of the streets of our city and one step closer to being housed."
BC Housing continues to work with the City of Kelowna to identify suitable locations for permanent shelters and supportive housing. Shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness, which is why the Province is investing in a range of housing options and, through BC Housing, has opened 196 supportive homes in Kelowna since 2017.
- The Province invested $500,000 to renovate the new shelter and will provide approximately $2.1 million in annual operating funding.
- In addition, the Province is providing a one-time startup grant of $25,000.
- Kelowna's March 2020 point-in-time count identified at least 297 people experiencing homelessness in the community, which is a 4% increase from 2018.
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/