An overflowing crowd at Kelowna supportive housing meeting - InfoNews

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An overflowing crowd at Kelowna supportive housing meeting

Security was evident at an open house on the McCurdy supportive housing project tonight, June 26.
June 26, 2019 - 6:18 PM

KELOWNA - It was shortly after the scheduled 5:30 p.m. start time for an open house on the McCurdy supportive housing project when the doors were shut and new arrivals were asked to line up while waiting their turn to enter.

B.C. Housing hosted the open house in Rutland Centennial Hall to provide information to residents about the type of facility planned for the corner of McCurdy and Rutland roads.

“We have to close the doors for fire safety,” one worker said as she counted an estimated 325 people already in the building by 5:32 p.m.

“We opened the doors early because there were so many people,” another said.

At the actual site of the building – where the Knights of Columbus Hall once stood - no buildings remain, heavy machinery is already digging into the ground and a sign across the street says, “We won’t give up.”

Opponents have argued that, for one thing, the project is too close to schools, including Rutland Elementary School. It’s designed to house homeless people who have the right to consume drugs and alcohol in their own rooms.

“I would estimate that 60 per cent of our facilities in the province are close to schools,” Ann Howard, Interior Regional Director for B.C. Housing, told “It actually brings some safety to the neighbourhood. We respond to complaints.”

A B.C. Housing-funded supportive housing project has been operating on Tutt Street, right across from Raymer Elementary School, for many years, she noted. It doesn’t seem to generate any concerns, but it is for women and children only.

“I have a grandson who goes to the school right down the street (from the McCurdy site),” Howard said. “I’m not afraid for his safety. He’s well aware of what he needs to do in order to be safe on the streets. We make sure we continue to educate our children and help them to understand the challenges in our society.”



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