New supportive homes offer hope, opportunities for people in Kelowna
KELOWNA - Fifty-one supportive homes with around-the-clock supports are opening in Kelowna to help people experiencing homelessness in the community.
"We're working with our partners to provide these homes in Kelowna, because when vulnerable people have housing and wraparound supports, it's good for everyone in the community," said Selina Robinson, Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing. "This building will give people without homes the dignity of safe and secure housing, along with supports to help them move forward with their lives."
Located at 2025 Agassiz Rd., Stephen Village is a four-storey modular apartment building with 51 self-contained units, each with a private washroom and mini kitchen. Shared amenities include a laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can enjoy meals together. The building also has a medical room to provide on-site care for residents.
"These 51 new homes for people who have struggled to find stable housing will be life changing for the residents selected to live here," said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. "The housing-first approach to end homelessness is part of the larger solution for social and economic needs in Kelowna and we look forward to other BC Housing developments in our community in the future."
The John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay (JHSOK) will manage Stephen Village. It will provide residents with support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work. At least two staff members will be on site 24/7.
"Safe and secure homes like these provide a real opportunity for people to rebuild their lives. We look forward to being part of the community at 2025 Agassiz Rd.," said Hailee Rogers, director, JHSOK Housing First division. "We're committed to being a good neighbour and building safe communities both inside and outside of our homes. Stephen Village and John Howard Society Okanagan and Kootenay are committed to provided stable housing and access to supports such as education, employment opportunities and health-and-wellness services."
BC Housing and JHSOK worked together to identify people experiencing homelessness in the local area to move them into these homes. Residents will begin moving into the new building on Aug. 17, 2020.
"I was working and successful in life, but once I was diagnosed with cancer my whole world turned upside down," said T.W., a new Stephen Village resident. "I ended up on the streets living at a shelter. This is a great program to get people help and housed. I received help with my health care and housing when I needed it the most. John Howard has been there for me 100% of the way. I feel fortunate to be here and the staff are wonderful."
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Province provided $12.2 million to the project through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and will provide an annual operating subsidy of up to $1 million.
- With the opening of Stephen Village, Samuel Place (50 homes), Hearthstone (46 homes) and Heath House (40 homes), 186 supportive homes in Kelowna have opened within the past two years, and an additional 87 homes are underway.
For more information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19
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/
To find out more about the John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay, visit: https://johnhowardbc.ca/okanagan-kootenay/
Two backgrounders follow.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Services, supports provided for modular housing
All new modular housing buildings in the province have around-the-clock staffing to help young people, people with disabilities, seniors and others in critical need of housing.
The Province is providing annual operating funding to help those with the highest housing needs to build new beginnings. Experienced staff provide support to tenants based on their assessed needs.
Services and supports provided to young people, seniors, people with disabilities and others who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness, include:
- on-site supports and connection to additional specialized supports in their community;
- supports that are tailored to the needs of the residents, including education and employment opportunities, and health and wellness services, including mental health and addiction treatment programs;
- 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; and
- free laundry services, either on or off site.
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
Province building new homes to meet full spectrum of housing needs
The B.C. government is working in partnership with non-profits, municipalities, First Nations, Indigenous housing organizations and the private sector to build 114,000 affordable homes that cover the full spectrum of housing needs for British Columbians by 2028.
Budget 2018 included a $7-billion investment in the homes people need. As a result of that investment, more than 23,000 new homes are completed, under construction or in the approvals process for a range of people who are struggling to find a place to live, from people who are experiencing homelessness and seniors on fixed incomes, to middle-income families, students and individuals. As of Dec. 31, 2019, this includes:
Housing for people with middle incomes
The average annual household income qualifying for homes underway is under $99,000 per year:
- HousingHub: 2,802 homes
Housing for people with low to moderate incomes
This includes people residing in social housing (household incomes less than $65,000) as well as those living in affordable market rentals (households with annual incomes up to $74,000) – 9,837 homes:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (30% of units in each project): 1,565 rental homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Affordable Rental Housing Program: 1,615 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Deepening Affordability Fund: 1,976 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
- Regional Housing First Program: 907 homes for people with low to moderate incomes
Social housing or subsidized rents:
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (50% of units in each project): 2,609 rental homes for people with low incomes
- Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund: 1,165 homes for Indigenous peoples, on- and off- reserve
Housing for people with very low incomes
Rental housing for people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, or for people with very low incomes (includes supportive housing and shelter-rate housing) – 4,795 homes:
- Rapid Response to Homelessness: 2,012 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund: 1,060 homes with 24/7 support
- Building BC: Women’s Transition Housing Fund: 679 spaces of transition, second-stage and affordable rental housing for women and children leaving violence
- Building BC: Community Housing Fund (20% of units in each project): 1,044 homes
Housing for students – 5,584 homes:
- BC Student Housing Loan Program: 2,699 on-campus student housing units are under construction, in development or in the approvals process
- 2,885 student housing units are also completed, under construction or in development through partnerships with post-secondary institutions
Total: 23,018 homes
Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing