Merit Place shelter is open in Kamloops, providing 50 additional safe, warm beds for people experiencing homelessness.
“There are too many people living on the streets of Kamloops. These new shelter spaces will help people get inside and connect with services so they have supports they need to begin to rebuild their lives,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing. “Our work doesn’t stop here. I look forward to continuing to work with the City of Kamloops on the housing priorities identified for their community members.”
Merit Place shelter is located inside the former Greyhound bus depot at 725 Notre Dame Dr. It is the result of extensive collaboration between the Province, through BC Housing, and the City of Kamloops to identify additional shelter locations to support people experiencing homelessness.
“We are very thankful for our community partners who are working with us to deliver the services people need,” said Ken Christian, mayor of Kamloops. “We appreciate the investment and commitment BC Housing has made in our community to help address the housing needs for those who are most vulnerable.”
The new shelter uses sleeping pods to increase privacy and support the dignity of shelter guests. Guests at Merit Place will have access to daily warm meals, hygiene facilities, referral to health programming if needed, and staff who are available around the clock. The Kamloops chapter of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) will operate the new shelter, which will be open until March 2023.
“CMHA Kamloops continues to deliver on our promise of making mental-health services accessible in our community,” said Alfred Achoba, executive director, CMHA Kamloops. “Shelters are providing hope to clients that are built on wellness, recovery, case management and community reintegration. This model of service to our community is collaborative in both theory and practice. The results we are seeing speaks to the individual life-changing stories of our clients.”
The Province, through BC Housing, is providing approximately $1.9 million in annual operating funding, plus one-time startup costs of $100,000.
This project is part of B.C.’s 10-year, $7-billion housing plan. Since 2017, the Province has funded nearly 32,000 affordable new homes that have been completed or are underway for people in B.C., including approximately 1,300 homes in Kamloops.
- Merit Place is one of three new shelters announced by the Province and the City of Kamloops in November 2021.
- Once open, the three new shelters will bring the total shelter bed count in Kamloops to 190.
- Shelters are not a long-term solution to homelessness. The Province, through BC Housing, has also opened 160 supportive homes in Kamloops since 2017, with an additional 79 on the way.
- Since 2017, there have been a total of 1,297 new units of housing open or underway in Kamloops, covering the whole spectrum of housing needs.
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/