Having a safe, affordable roof over your head is something to which everyone should have access. Navigating the many resources to find housing, financial assistance, health care, and specific services to promote wellness and recovery can be extremely difficult without help. CMHA Kelowna strives to break the cycle of homelessness by supporting people to find a good place to call home. In addition, our team works in collaboration with the community to ensure that people have the supports necessary to maintain their housing long term.
Our Community Navigation team works with individuals (19+), couples, and families who are homeless, or at imminent risk of homelessness. Community Navigation and Outreach Services is funded by both provincial and federal initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness in our community.
Poverty. Addiction. Mental illness. Loneliness. The specific struggles vary for each person who comes to us looking for help with housing, but the approach is similar for all.
Housing Search Support
Housing Search Support is offered by appointment and operates from a triaged waitlist, prioritizing clients with the most imminent housing needs and highest vulnerability
This is a service for individuals who require in depth support to navigate the steps of a housing search (completing low income housing applications, researching private listings, calling landlords).
HOW DO I ACCESS: Download the Navigation Referral Form – fax, scan/email, or drop off completed form to CMHA reception. If you are submitting referral on behalf of someone else, please ensure that applicant has signed the consent portion of the referral.
Ready to Rent
Ready to Rent BC, offered in Kelowna by CMHA Kelowna in partnership with the John Howard Society of the Central and South Okanagan, opens doors to housing through education. Ready to Rent is available by referral for no cost to participants.
What does Ready to Rent include?
- Tenant rights and responsibilities
- Landlord responsibilities and expectations
- Living with roommates, housemates and neighbours
- Effective communication skills
- Budgeting and planning for housing affordability and stability
- Maintenance do’s and don’ts
- Crisis management, safety and pests
Upon completion of the RentSmart course, participants earn the RentSmart Certificate of Completion. The certificate can act as a reference and lets landlords know that graduates have learned how to be a good tenant.
The benefits of the RentSmart course are empowered tenants who understand their rights and responsibilities, communicate effectively with landlords, neighbours and roommates, budget to maintain their housing and look after their home. Financial benefits include the reduction in the costs related to moving, damages and evictions, as well as the societal benefits of stable housing and all its related impacts.
Ready to Rent for Youth is also available.
Rent Supplements (funded by BC Housing) are available for individuals experiencing homelessness as well as couples and families who require short term financial assistance (up to 3 months) to obtain housing OR whose current housing is at imminent risk (e.g. an eviction notice has been issued).
Applicants are required to provide proof of income and be willing to work with a Navigator on a case plan, including a post-supplement plan for housing stability.
NOTE: Our Navigation team works in collaboration with other community agencies who also administer Rent Supplement funds in order to best meet the needs of our community (Kelowna Friendship Society (KFS), NOW Canada, and CB25 – CMHA Youth Services).
Willowbridge is a supported, transitional housing project for individuals who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness. Those who participate in the Willowbridge program will be better equipped to secure stable and permanent housing, as well as develop and strengthen skills and connections for ongoing success.
- 40 units of supported housing for those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- Connects participants with community services, assists with goal-setting and life-skills development, and encourages the development of healthy interpersonal relationships
- Provides tools to secure stable and permanent housing upon transitioning back to the community
- Welcoming and inclusive space that facilitates community and peer support.
- Constructed in 2010 by the building development team of Philip MacDonald Architect Inc., Associate Partners Sawchuk Developments, Bentsen Development, and BC Housing who received Tommie HomeBuilders Awards for: Excellence in Creating Affordable Housing, Excellence in Creating Multi-Family Development, Best Public/ Private Partnership, Terasen Award for Building Energy Efficiency – Multi-Family New Construction
How to Apply:
To be considered for Willowbridge Transitional Housing, please submit the Supportive Housing Registration (SHR) Service form to BC Housing’s Penticton office at 250-492-1080 (by Fax). Alternatively the application can be sent by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications available for download at: http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Supportive_Housing/SHR
Scattered Sites is an innovative program where CMHA Kelowna works closely with local landlords and lease several apartments throughout the city. Our Scattered Site program consists of CMHA holding responsibility for paying the rent for a year, which ensures a guarantee to the landlord. CMHA then has access to spaces to sublet to individuals who are ready to live independently.
It’s a win for everyone – the landlord has their apartment rented with a responsible tenant who is supported, the tenant has a safe and affordable place to live, and we are able do something that practically addresses homelessness in Kelowna.
Rosemead Apartments are designed for individuals with mental health issues living on limited incomes who are able to live independently over the long term.
- 23 low-cost one-bedroom apartments
- BC Housing subsidized rent based upon tenant income
For more information, please contact CMHA Kelowna.
CMHA Kelowna is proud to bring Housing First to our community. More information about this initiative is forthcoming. In the meantime, read “From Homeless to Housed in Under a Month” to learn about the first person housed through this project.
From the Homeless Hub: “‘Housing First’ is a recovery-oriented approach to ending homelessness that centers on quickly moving people experiencing homelessness into independent and permanent housing and then providing additional supports and services as needed. It is an approach first popularized by Sam Tsemberis and Pathways to Housing in New York in the 1990s, though there were Housing First-like programs emerging elsewhere, including Canada (HouseLink in Toronto) prior to this time. The basic underlying principle of Housing First is that people are better able to move forward with their lives if they are first housed. This is as true for people experiencing homelessness and those with mental health and addictions issues as it is for anyone. Housing is provided first and then supports are provided including physical and mental health, education, employment, substance abuse and community connections.”