Homeless in Kelowna will get two more months in shelter | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Homeless in Kelowna will get two more months in shelter

Jan Schulz, Inn from the Cold Executive Director.
Image Credit: Contributed
October 30, 2018 - 12:30 PM

KELOWNA - The lease for the Inn from the Cold homeless shelter has been extended from Wednesday until the end of the year.

“We’re grateful to our current landlord that we can continue to shelter some of Kelowna’s most vulnerable, although a closure date in the dead of winter is troublesome as these people will likely have nowhere else to go,” Inn from the Cold Executive Director Jan Schulz said in a press release.

While some of the people who normally seek shelter will move to the new Hearthstone Supportive Housing complex on Thursday, the Inn continues to be full each night, as do other shelters in the area.

“Those approved for supportive housing will pay rent but will also receive the necessary support to ensure their journey back from homelessness will be a success,” wrote Schulz.

In the meantime, the press release states, the Inn struggles with the challenges that come with uncertainty about the shelter’s future, including heightened anxiety amongst those being sheltered, difficulties retaining qualified staff and heavy workloads for those remaining.

“Surely, a solution can be found,” she wrote. “I can’t imagine anyone finds palatable the alternative of more people living rough on Kelowna’s streets in winter. Between managing the shelter short-staffed, trying to locate new space and facilitating those moving to modular housing, we are stretched pretty thin and could really use some help.”

The Inn is still looking for 2,500 square feet of leasable space, warehouse or otherwise, preferably in a commercial setting outside of downtown and will do its best to ensure minimal impact on the surrounding community. Anyone who can help is urged to contact Schulz at jan@innfromthecoldkelowna.org.

“We are hugely grateful for any help but ask that those emailing nasty comments about what we can do with the Kelowna citizens we shelter to please desist,” she wrote. “The people we shelter could be your neighbours or they could be you, as the line between having a home or being without is thin and anyone can find themselves on the other side of it.”

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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