KELOWNA, BC, October 29, 2020 – The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna is opening their fourth supportive housing building for people who are at risk of, or are experiencing, homelessness.
The new residents of Ellis Place, located at 1055 Ellis Street, will move into the three-story, 38-unit modular apartment building the first week of November.
Each apartment has its own private washroom, shower, kitchen, sleeping and living space. The building itself includes a commercial kitchen, dining and lounge areas, storage and amenity space, laundry, and a medical room.
Recognizing our most vulnerable citizens face significant risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, the process to establish the new building was expedited through a partnership between the City of Kelowna and the Province, in order to provide more housing and supportive options.
“The City is committed to supporting the Journey Home Strategy focusing on ending chronic and episodic homelessness, introducing measures to prevent homelessness in the first place and implementing a coordinated systems approach to homelessness,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “Homelessness is an evolving, dynamic crisis in our community and these kinds of partnerships go a long way towards creating solutions.”
CMHA Kelowna staff will be on-site 24/7 and in-house supports including meal programs, peer support, and health and wellness service will be available to residents. CMHA Kelowna and Interior Health are excited to be piloting a collaborative initiative to provide additional clinical supports to address health, mental health, and substance use concerns on-site, seven days a week.
“We anticipate this unique partnership will be a game changer for residents and for the community,” says Shelagh Turner, Executive Director, CMHA Kelowna. “With the addition of Ellis Place to our other housing in the community, our organization is now providing more than 200 individuals with a place to call home. And we are also connecting them with supports that will help them to stay housed and move forward in their wellness journey.”
Turner adds that the opening of Ellis Place marks a significant step in advancing the City’s Journey Home Strategy with the goal of adding 300 units of housing with supports. “We are proud of the role we are playing in the community’s collective commitment to ending homelessness.”
Good to see people off the streets for sure. Do we have statistics on the current low barrier facilities as to how many of the residents have been there long term – what has the turnover been since opening for each facility? What services are offered in each facility and how many of the residents are using/have used them and what life improvements residents are reporting because of them? How many have been able to get and hold down jobs so they can then move towards becoming self sufficient? It would be prudent to share these numbers. At some point if these facilities are doing what they are being touted to do, we should have people leaving these facilities and moving out and on with their lives, making room for those still needing help. Then construction of more facilities would not be necessary. And that truly would and should be the goal here.
Jordan Ehman says
Thank you for your comments on the opening of Ellis Place and on supportive housing in our community. Ellis Place, much like our other buildings, is a home for people who may otherwise not have had one. There is no time-limit for which people can stay in their home. This housing is created to first give them this home and second a chance at stabilizing their lives. This can take shape a number of ways: The fact that they are no longer sleeping outside is a success. Entering a treatment program, or even using substances less are also measures of success. Volunteering or getting a job – those can also be successes. Success can also look like reconnecting with family for the first time in years, the ability to better manage their mental health issues or, yes, moving on to market housing.
We appreciate you wanting to better understand the role supportive housing plays in ensuring we are creating a community where everyone feels they belong.