Temporary emergency shelter opening in Kelowna
KELOWNA - People in need of a warm, safe place to stay during the winter months will soon have access to additional temporary shelter spaces in Kelowna, thanks to a partnership between the Province and Turning Points Collaborative Society.
The Province is also working with Metro Community to open a hygiene centre in Kelowna.
“We know there’s an urgent need to provide additional shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness in the community, especially during COVID-19,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “The pandemic has compounded the challenges faced by vulnerable people, so I’m very pleased to see Kelowna residents ensuring that people in need are supported.”
Located at 1083 Richter St., the temporary shelter will open on Jan. 25, 2021, and will provide up to 38 beds for people experiencing homelessness in the community. The shelter will be open 24/7, providing guests with meal services, showers, laundry, access to social workers, referrals to community services and harm reduction services.
Turning Points Collaborative Society will operate the shelter until the pandemic risk to this vulnerable population has passed.
The Metro Community hygiene centre will provide people with laundry facilities, showers and access to harm reduction services. Located at 1262 St. Paul St., it is scheduled to open in early February.
The hygiene centre will be open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will be a permanent site, part of Metro Community’s drop-in program. Hours will likely be extended from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the Welcome Inn emergency shelter on Ellis St. closes, as scheduled on March 31, 2021.
There are currently three year-round shelters and three temporary shelters operating in Kelowna. Including the new temporary shelter, there will be a total of approximately 265 beds available on a nightly basis this winter.
The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $430,000 in operating funding for the temporary shelter and $305,900 in operational funding for the hygiene centre.
In addition to shelters in Kelowna, the Province has worked with community partners to open 225 supportive homes over the last three years to provide a safe place for those who do not have a home.
Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna –
“This new temporary shelter gives those without a home another option to stay safe, warm and dry overnight. The hygiene facilities are also badly needed at this time of year, and we’re thankful to BC Housing, Turning Points Collaborative Society and Metro Community for teaming up to offer this service.”
Stephanie Ball, executive director, Journey Home –
“It has been an unprecedented year for our community in launching emergency services and supports for citizens experiencing homelessness. These two new services are so critically needed, and we’re so thrilled to be working with our community partners and stakeholders to ensure everyone has somewhere safe and warm to stay this winter.”
Randene Wejr, executive director, Turning Points Collaborative Society –
“There is an urgent and critical need for this emergency shelter. Due to COVID-19 physical distancing requirements, existing shelter capacity has been reduced and, in general, fewer people are able to safely share accommodations. This has led to an increased number of people who find themselves homeless and on the streets in Kelowna.”
Amber Webster-Kotak, executive director, Metro Community –
“As our community faces the unexpected realities COVID-19 has affected – unstable housing, less access to services and fewer places to safely gather indoors, these additional hygiene services have proven themselves essential. Offering a hygiene program means that those who are experiencing homelessness or those who are precariously housed are safely able to access shower, bathroom and laundry services. While these services address a practical need, we believe the reach goes far beyond and offers dignity.”
To learn more about the emergency shelter program, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-program
To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: https://smap.bchousing.org/
For more information about the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society and the Journey Home Strategy, visit: https://www.journeyhome.ca/
Ministry of Attorney General and Responsible for Housing