People experiencing homelessness in Kelowna will soon have a place to call their own as new permanent supportive homes with around-the-clock care and supports open in the community.
“Everyone deserves a safe, secure place to call home and that is what this project is about,” said Selina Robinson, Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing. “These new supportive homes will give people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna the chance to make changes and build a better life.”
Located at 280 McIntosh Rd., Samuel Place is a four-storey modular apartment building with 50 self-contained units, including private washrooms, showers and mini kitchens. Shared amenities include a laundry room, commercial kitchen and a dining lounge area where residents can have meals together. The building also has a medical room to provide on-site care for residents.
“The City of Kelowna and its community partners continue to support the Journey Home Strategy’s Housing First model and to advocate for additional and diverse forms of housing, so that everyone in our community can have a place to call home,” said Colin Basran, mayor, City of Kelowna.
The John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay (JHSOK) will manage Samuel Place and 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.
“We are excited to welcome residents into their new home at Samuel Place, where they can restore dignity and become part of a community that they can contribute to and feel a genuine part of,” said Dawn Himer, executive director, JHSOK. “Housing with supports makes a difference in lives and creates opportunity for safe, healthy and inclusive communities for all.”
Residents will begin moving into the building on March 23, 2020. All 40 guests from Fuller Bridge to Housing, Kelowna’s temporary bridge housing for people experiencing homelessness, will be transitioned to supportive housing sites in the city, including Samuel Place.
“I was never taught how to keep an apartment and live on my own, but I left home at a young age and tried for several years to make ends meet,” said V, a new resident at Samuel Place. “I fought hard to pay rent and live, even to a point of having three jobs, but somehow it wasn’t enough, and I just couldn’t figure it out. Through these difficult circumstances, I have learned much about myself, people, life and matured, so I look forward to this second chance at having my own home, to care for and to learn to stand on my own and be who I can be.”
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 $15.5 million to the project through the Rapid Response to Homelessness program and will provide up to $1 million in annual operational funding.
- B.C.-based manufacturer Horizon North was selected by the Province to manufacture these new homes in Kelowna, and for several other modular projects in B.C., supporting jobs and local economies.
- With the opening of Samuel Place, Hearthstone (46 homes) and Heath House (40 homes), there are now 136 supportive homes in Kelowna that have opened within the past two years and an additional 100 homes are underway.
- In just over two years, government has built more than 2,100 supportive homes, with over 900 more underway and a goal of 4,900 over 10 years.
New reports show that supportive housing for people experiencing homelessness is substantially improving the quality of life for residents and reducing their use of emergency health services. The full reports and a summary of the results can be found here: https://www.bchousing.org/modular-supportive-housing-resident-outcomes-reports
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/
A backgrounder follows.