The Province is starting construction on 46 units of modular housing with 24/7 support services, which means people who are homeless in Kelowna will have access to secure housing before the cold weather returns.
“We understand that shelter providers in Kelowna are experiencing significant pressure from high occupancy rates, and many of their clients are dealing with mental-health and addiction issues,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These new homes will alleviate some of that pressure, and provide much-needed access to support programs that will help these people reclaim their lives.”
The new homes, being constructed at 1642 Commerce Ave., will offer people experiencing or at risk of homelessness the stable home they need, so they can focus on other areas in their lives. Five of the homes will also be wheelchair accessible, to accommodate residents with disabilities.
The John Howard Society will operate the building, providing residents with access to around-the-clock on-site staff and support services. These include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services, and opportunities for volunteer work.
The Province has selected B.C. manufacturer Horizon North Modular Solutions to build the homes, ensuring the project is supporting the growth of the region’s economy. This company has significant experience building quality projects rapidly, which will enable people to move into stable housing by September 2018.
The Province has also recently purchased property for a second proposed supportive housing project in Kelowna, at 2025 Agassiz Rd.
BC Housing will seek community feedback at an open house at a date still to be determined, and will work with the city on the municipal rezoning process for the land. In the meantime, questions or comments can be sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna —
“This is an important step on our journey to address homelessness in Kelowna. The city has a long, successful relationship with BC Housing, having collaborated on many transitional and long-term housing projects over the last decade to house single men, women, families and seniors.”
Gaelene Askeland, executive director for the John Howard Society of Central & South Okanagan —
“We are so pleased that this building is underway, and are looking forward to helping 46 people who are currently living without homes in our community into the next new phase of their lives.”
Rod Graham, president and chief executive officer of Horizon North —
“Housing assistance for vulnerable citizens requires courage and conviction, along with a commitment to a solution from all parties. Using our two modular manufacturing facilities in Kamloops and Aldergrove, Horizon North is committed to building made-in-British Columbia solutions which can play a critical role in the provincial government’s objective of addressing the gap in accommodations for people in need.”
- The Province is investing $8 million in capital and construction costs, and will also be providing an annual operating subsidy.
- This temporary supportive housing project will be in operation for up to four years, allowing residents the opportunity to transition to more permanent housing.
- The homes are funded through the Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness program, part of a provincewide investment of $291 million to build 2,000 homes throughout B.C., and more than $170 million over three years for 24/7 staffing and support services.
- Since the fund was created in September 2017, over 1,700 new homes have started development for people most in need in 19 communities throughout the province.
- Budget 2018 provides further supports for people experiencing homelessness, with the announcement of an additional 2,500 new homes with 24/7 support services.
- The Province will be working with people with lived experience, local governments and community partners to develop a homelessness action plan, to reduce homelessness through permanent housing and services.
Read Homes for B.C., government’s 30-point plan to address housing affordability for British Columbians: bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2018/homesbc/2018_Homes_For_BC.pdf
To find out what the Province is doing to improve housing affordability, visit: news.gov.bc.ca/factsheets/bc-government-addressing-housing-affordability-challenges
A backgrounder follows.