Responding to urgent need in the community, the Government of B.C. is opening a new temporary shelter to ensure people experiencing homelessness have a warm, dry and safe place to stay throughout the winter season.
In partnership with the City of West Kelowna and the West Kelowna Shelter Society, the Province is funding up to 40 new shelter spaces at First United Church, 3672 Brown Rd. The shelter will be open 24 hours, seven days a week. Shelter guests will have access to laundry, showers and opportunities to meet with representatives from health and other social service agencies.
The new shelter is expected to open by Christmas and will help relieve pressure from four other provincially funded shelters in the Kelowna area running at or near capacity on a nightly basis. The four shelters include:
- Kelowna's Gospel Mission: 60 beds
- NOW Canada’s shelter for women and children: 20 beds
- Cornerstone co-ed shelter: 80 beds
- Inn from the Cold: 35 beds
More temporary shelters and extreme weather shelters may be added throughout the season as needed and where appropriate. These temporary shelter spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout British Columbia.
- Forty additional supportive homes will soon open at Heath House. BC Housing is proposing approximately 50 units of supportive housing on Agassiz Road for people experiencing homelessness.
- The goal of these projects is to help people stabilize their lives in a supportive environment where they will have the services they need and move on to more permanent housing.
- Through the Building BC Rapid Response to Homelessness program, the Province is investing $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. More than 2,000 of these homes have now been announced in 22 B.C. communities.
- The Province is also investing $1.2 billion over 10 years in the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, which will create 2,500 units of supportive housing for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.
- The opening of temporary and extreme weather shelters build on the work government is doing to reduce poverty in British Columbia. In October 2018, the B.C. government introduced the Poverty Reduction Strategy Act. Informed by thousands of people who participated in a comprehensive public consultation, the act sets out targets and defines the scope of the poverty reduction strategy, which will be released in early 2019.