11:33 AM

Operators selected for new temporary homes in Kelowna

KELOWNA - Non-profit operators have been selected for two new temporary housing projects underway for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.

Following a request for proposals, BC Housing has selected the John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay to operate the housing project at 759 Crowley Ave. and Turning Points Collaborative Society for the housing development at 2740 Highway 97 N.

"We know this housing is needed urgently, which is why we have worked quickly to secure experienced operators who can provide the necessary supports and services vulnerable people need to stabilize their lives," said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. "We know that work is far from done, which is why we will continue to take urgent action to expedite construction on these homes so people can move in as soon as possible."

In partnership with the City of Kelowna, these projects will provide a total of 120 supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness in the community. The Crowley Avenue project is anticipated to be complete and have residents moving in February 2024. The Highway 97 North project is anticipated to be complete by March 2024. The sites are on land owned by the City of Kelowna, which will lease the land to the Province for a nominal fee.

"We appreciate the collaboration and partnership from the Province and BC Housing to advance this work quickly," said Tom Dyas, mayor of Kelowna. "John Howard and Turning Points are both experienced and established operators, and valued partners. With the cold season here, we look forward to seeing these sites open as soon as possible."

The societies 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 homes will be assessed and matched with appropriate supports.

The two projects are intended as temporary housing solutions, providing time for BC Housing to continue working with the City of Kelowna 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, such as 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 future encampments. Through the MOU, the City of Kelowna commits to bring forward available land and expedite land-use decisions for new shelter and supportive-housing projects.

Quick Facts:

•    The Province, through BC Housing, is providing a total of approximately $9.3 million for these projects from the new Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program and will provide annual operating funding.

•    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.

•    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 thousands of new supportive housing units and hundreds of complex-care housing units provincewide.

Learn More:

Read the MOU online: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/BC-MOU_Kelowna_HEART-HEARTH.pdf

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