Premier Clark has announced the opening of New Gate Apartments, a 49-unit supportive housing development for those at risk of homelessness in Kelowna.
"Four years ago, our government and the City of Kelowna signed an agreement to build 128 new supportive housing units on three city-owned sites," said Premier Clark. "Today the final and largest project has officially opened and is housing 49 individuals from this community who were previously homeless or at risk of homelessness. A special acknowledgment goes to the John Howard Society for all their efforts in bringing this project to its opening day and for all their work in the central and south Okanagan."
The provincial government provided a mortgage of close to $7 million for construction of the development and will provide annual operational funding of over $725,000. The City of Kelowna provided land equity valued at $650,000.
"It's in the best interest of the City of Kelowna and its citizens that we create supported, affordable housing options for our most vulnerable," said Walter Gray, mayor, City of Kelowna. "Through partnership with other levels of government and community organizations, we have successfully leveraged our ability to provide land for the creation of new supportive housing."
The new four-storey building provides longer-term supportive housing to men and women at risk of homelessness. The John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan owns, manages and operates New Gate Apartments. Support workers provide on-site support services and also link tenants to community resources to further help them reach their personal, educational and financial independence goals.
"People can always change for the better and having safe, supportive housing is fundamental to anyone making and maintaining any positive life change," said Shelley Cook, executive director, John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan. "New Gate Apartments provides this opportunity for 49 men and women in our community. This building is John Howard Society's fourth supportive housing development to open in Kelowna, and it has helped to fill a need for longer-term supportive housing for men and women who have started to rebuild their lives."
In the last decade, the provincial government has invested $2.8 billion to provide affordable housing for low-income individuals, seniors and families. This year, more than 95,000 B.C. households will benefit from provincial social housing programs and services.
In 2010-11, our government invested over $22 million to provide subsidized housing and rent supplements for almost 3,000 Kelowna households.
The John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan works to address health and public interest problems with a focus on criminal justice in an effort to promote a safe and peaceful community. The John Howard Society has branches and offices in over 65 communities across Canada. In British Columbia, the society has offices in 14 different communities, including Kelowna.
To learn more about provincial programs and services to address homelessness, visit: www.bchousing.org/Initiatives/Creating/PHI
To learn more about the services and programs offered through the John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan, please visit: www.jhscso.bc.ca
Office of the Premier
City of Kelowna