Photo credit: Michael Hintringer
*This release originally appeared on the BC Housing website
People experiencing homelessness have a new place to call home with the Heath House opening its doors in Kelowna.
In response to the need to address homelessness, the Province, with the support of the City of Kelowna, purchased and renovated the former Good Night Inn and Howard Johnson Travel Lodge at 2639 Highway 97. Renamed Heath House, 40 newly renovated homes are now providing supportive housing for people in need.
“With the opening of this building, we’ve now built 86 homes with supports to help people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna, with a further 100 underway,” said Selina Robinson Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These new homes will make a significant difference in people’s lives, and the whole community will benefit when those in need receive the supports they need to rebuild their lives.”
Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna will operate the building. It will provide around-the-clock services, including meal programs, life and employment skills training, and health and wellness supports. “Providing homes with appropriate supports is fundamental to supporting the health and wellness for people who may have been homeless for a long time,” said Shelagh Turner, executive director, CMHA Kelowna. “Housing stability is the first step in clearing the way so people can thrive and move towards an improved quality of life.”
Each unit will have its own bathroom, bed and mini kitchen with apartment-sized refrigerators and freezers. All residents will have access to common amenity areas, including a laundry room, communal kitchen and a lounge area. “I am pleased to see more homes in place for Kelowna residents struggling with homelessness,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna. “Heath House will provide safe, secure housing to our community members who need it most.”
The Province provided approximately $7.35 million to purchase and renovate the building Renovations included creating indoor gathering areas for residents, providing appropriate fencing and landscaping around the property, as well as electrical and safety upgrades.
- During the 2018 point-in-time counts of homelessness conducted in March, 286 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in Kelowna.
- In addition to the 40 homes at Heath House, the Province is working to address the
- homelessness and housing challenges in Kelowna through a number of other supportive house projects, including:
- 46 homes at 1642 Commerce Ave. – opened in October 2018
- 52 homes at 2025 Agassiz Rd. – in development
- Up to 50 homes at 280 McIntosh Rd. – in development
- The Province is also investing in housing for low- to- middle-income people in Kelowna through the Building BC: Community Housing Fund, with two projects in Kelowna, including:
- $3.3 million to the City of Kelowna – 33 homes for families
- $4 million to NOW Canada Society – 40 homes for families, seniors and women with children
- Residents at Heath House will be charged a monthly rental rate of $375, the social assistance shelter allowance provided by the Province.
- This project builds 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 is scheduled to be released in early 2019.