Fifty-one supportive homes with around-the-clock supports are opening in Kelowna to help people experiencing homelessness in the community.
“We’re working with our partners to provide these homes in Kelowna, because when vulnerable people have housing and wraparound supports, it’s good for everyone in the community,” said Selina Robinson, Minister for Municipal Affairs and Housing. “This building will give people without homes the dignity of safe and secure housing, along with supports to help them move forward with their lives.”
Located at 2025 Agassiz Rd., Stephen Village is a four-storey modular apartment building with 51 self-contained units, each with a private washroom and mini kitchen. Shared amenities include a laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can enjoy meals together. The building also has a medical room to provide on-site care for residents.
“These 51 new homes for people who have struggled to find stable housing will be life changing for the residents selected to live here,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “The housing-first approach to end homelessness is part of the larger solution for social and economic needs in Kelowna and we look forward to other BC Housing developments in our community in the future.”
The John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay (JHSOK) will manage Stephen Village. It will provide residents with support services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work. At least two staff members will be on site 24/7.
“Safe and secure homes like these provide a real opportunity for people to rebuild their lives. We look forward to being part of the community at 2025 Agassiz Rd.,” said Hailee Rogers, director, JHSOK Housing First division. “We're committed to being a good neighbour and building safe communities both inside and outside of our homes. Stephen Village and John Howard Society Okanagan and Kootenay are committed to provided stable housing and access to supports such as education, employment opportunities and health-and-wellness services.”
BC Housing and JHSOK worked together to identify people experiencing homelessness in the local area to move them into these homes. Residents will begin moving into the new building on Aug. 17, 2020.
“I was working and successful in life, but once I was diagnosed with cancer my whole world turned upside down,” said T.W., a new Stephen Village resident. “I ended up on the streets living at a shelter. This is a great program to get people help and housed. I received help with my health care and housing when I needed it the most. John Howard has been there for me 100% of the way. I feel fortunate to be here and the staff are wonderful.”
Delivering affordable housing is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.
- The Province provided $12.2 million to the project through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and will provide an annual operating subsidy of up to $1 million.
- With the opening of Stephen Village, Samuel Place (50 homes), Hearthstone (46 homes) and Heath House (40 homes), 186 supportive homes in Kelowna have opened within the past two years, and an additional 87 homes are underway.
For more information on how BC Housing is supporting British Columbians during the COVID-19 outbreak, visit: https://www.bchousing.org/COVID-19
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/
To find out more about the John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay, visit: https://johnhowardbc.ca/okanagan-kootenay/
Two backgrounders follow.