New temporary shelter opening in Kelowna


December 10, 2019

KELOWNA – More people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna will soon have a safe and warm space to stay as the Province is partnering with a new service provider to open a temporary shelter for people in need.

The Welcome Inn shelter is located at 1265 Ellis St. and was a site brought forward by the community. Renovations are underway. The shelter could open in late December or early January, depending on when sufficient staff are available to safely operate the building. This is a temporary shelter to provide a place for people to go during the winter until March 31, 2020.

Due to the significant number of people in Kelowna who are experiencing homelessness and living outside, existing shelters are at or near capacity on a nightly basis. The Province’s non-profit partners in the region are also running at capacity, limiting their ability to take on additional initiatives. Faced with the need, and the lack of traditional options, BC Housing is partnering with Welcome Inn, a new community-based group that came together in order to operate the shelter. The group is led by experienced staff who are in the process of hiring volunteers to help with day-to-day operations. Turning Points Collaborative Society, a service provider based in Vernon, will also be supporting with mentoring and training for staff and volunteers.

The shelter will provide approximately 20 beds when it opens. As additional volunteers are identified, the shelter could expand capacity for up to 40 beds. The goal is for the shelter to be open 24/7, but depending on staff availability, the shelter may initially open overnights only. The Metro Community Church warming centre is located behind the shelter and will be available for shelter guests during the daytime.

Shelter guests will have access to daily meals, storage for their belongings, washrooms and a common room. At least two staff members will be on site at all times and the operator will provide information about the project and contact details for neighbours and community members who may have questions or concerns.

Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Learn More:

To see a map of permanent and temporary shelters in B.C., visit: http://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/homelessness-services/emergency-shelter-map

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/

Two backgrounders follow.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Media Relations
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

BACKGROUNDER 1

More facts about the new shelter

  • There are currently three shelters totalling 160 spaces in Kelowna that are open and funded by the Province, through BC Housing.
  • With the addition of the recently announced Fuller Avenue site and the Welcome Inn temporary shelter, there will soon be at least 220 spaces available to people in Kelowna experiencing homelessness.
  • In addition to shelters, the Province has opened more than 80 supportive homes in Kelowna since October 2018, including Heath House (40 homes) and Hearthstone (46 homes).
  • In addition, there are three more provincially funded supportive housing projects that are in development in the Kelowna area that will provide more than 150 units for people experiencing homelessness in the community.
  • Two of the projects are expected to open in Spring 2020, while the third will be ready in 2021.
  • The Province is also currently providing rent subsidies for 184 people or households who were experiencing homelessness, enabling them to live and rent in the private market.
  • The Province has opened close to 2,100 units of supportive housing across B.C. in the last two years, with more than 800 additional homes underway.
  • These developments are part of the government's Homes for BC housing plan, which will build a total of 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years, including 4,700 units of supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness.
  • Additional shelter spaces are open in the community, which aren’t funded by the Province.

Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing Media Relations
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org

 

BACKGROUNDER

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:

Affordable market:

  • 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

Media Contacts:

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing
778 584-2433

BC Housing
media@bchousing.org