Almost 300 people are homeless in Kelowna: Report | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Almost 300 people are homeless in Kelowna: Report

The number of homeless in Kelowna is up slightly this year from two years ago. Last fall, dozens camped on Leon Avenue before being relocated to temporary overnight camp sites.
July 17, 2020 - 11:40 AM

A March 10 “point in time” count found at least 297 people were homeless in Kelowna.

This is a four per cent increase from two years ago but that’s a small change compared to the dramatic 23 per cent increase between 2016 and 2018.

The total does not include the 335 people who are living in temporary “system-supported” housing, like emergency shelters.

Of those listed as homeless, 84 per cent had stayed in shelters during the past year, 71 per cent were male and 27 per cent female with 89 per cent between the ages of 25 and 64.

More than one in five (21 per cent) identified as indigenous or had indigenous ancestry.

While the overall number of people who were counted as homeless has not grown much in the last two years (11 more people) they’re homeless for longer periods of time. The average days homeless in the past year has increased from 192 in 2016 to 241 in 2018 to 267 this year. That means 72 per cent are considered “chronically homeless” because they’re homeless for more than six months of the year.

The top five reasons listed for being homeless are household conflict, can’t afford housing, substance use issues, conflict with landlords and illness or medical conditions.

The count is part of a national initiative that was coordinated in Kelowna by the Central Okanagan Foundation working with 23 community organizations.

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