UPDATE: Cornerstone shelter in downtown Kelowna to remain open indefinitely - InfoNews

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UPDATE: Cornerstone shelter in downtown Kelowna to remain open indefinitely

May 17, 2019 - 12:13 PM

KELOWNA - There were tears of relief from Cornerstone residents when they learned they will have a roof over their heads for the foreseeable future.

The Cornerstone emergency shelter in downtown Kelowna will remain open indefinitely rather than closing on June 30 as planned.

"I announced it to some of the residents there, and they were in tears, literally," Dawn Himer, executive director of the John Howard Society, which manages the facility, told iNFOnews.ca today, May 17. "They were going: ‘I’m going to be OK.' Some of them are progressing in their journeys, getting help with their addictions. Getting help with things. To lose that and end up back on the street, it was frightening."

The 80-bed shelter is down to about 66 residents, Himer said. A few found other housing arrangements and a few moved out, expecting it to close. She expects it to be filled to capacity again soon.

The province has committed $2.4 million annually so the 80-bed shelter at 425 Leon Ave. can remain open until either a new location is found or people are relocated and housed, according to a Ministry of Municipal Affairs media release.

About 100 supportive housing units are in the works for Kelowna at Agassiz Road and McIntosh Road, but those won’t be open until late this year or early in 2020.

Cornerstone has had a number of extensions since it was first opened in 2017.

The Downtown Kelowna Association said in a news release it's still opposed to the location of Cornerstone on Leon Avenue and will continue to advocate for its relocation. The downtown business groups said that security and clean-up efforts are being increased, and drug use and vandalism continue to create problems for its members.

— This story was updated at 12:12 p.m. Friday, May 17, 2019 to add comment from John Howard Society and Downtown Kelowna Association.

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