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iN VIDEO: Controversial Kelowna supporting housing complex set to open

Residents will move into a new supportive housing complex on Kelowna's McCurdy Road, March 22, 2021.
March 19, 2021 - 6:00 PM

Starting next week, formerly homeless individuals in Kelowna will be moving into their new home, a supportive housing complex on McCurdy Road.

Located at the former Knights of Columbus Hall, McCurdy Place will provide 49 studio apartments for those who are experiencing homelessness or at risk of becoming homeless.

Move in starts March 22.

One floor of the four-storey complex is also dedicated to supporting youth. 

The Knights of Columbus will also have an office on site. 

The Canadian Mental Health Association Kelowna and District Branch will manage the building and residents will receive individualized planning to further develop life and social skills, like employment planning and managing the transition to independence and recovery, according to a B.C. Housing media release.

At least two staff members will be on site at all times and the complex will have additional supports, such as a mental health and substance use specialist.

The studio suites come complete with a bed, bathroom, kitchenette, a storage area and wifi, said Jennifer Kanters, associate director of housing and homelessness services with the mental health association.

A new supportive housing apartment on McCurdy Road will house formerly homeless individuals.
A new supportive housing apartment on McCurdy Road will house formerly homeless individuals.

McCurdy Place is different from other supportive housing in the community with specific apartments for youth and supports curtailed to their needs, she said.

The apartment’s new commercial kitchen will also provide 170 meals a day for supportive housing complexes across Kelowna.

In 2019, protesters voiced their concerns over the supportive housing complex.

Many protesters call it a "wet house," believing it will give drug addicts free rein to abuse substances in the neighbourhood.

More than 14,000 people signed a petition addressed to B.C’s Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing opposing the complex.

READ MORE: Kelowna mayor shrugs off McCurdy Road supportive housing petition

To address this, Kanters said CMHA has been conducting community engagement work and has invited residents to the complex for a tour to address any concerns or questions they might have.

“We want to establish an open line of communication… so we can do our best resolve (any issues) as best as possible,” she said.

Residents at the complex have agreed to be on a recovery and wellness plan and work with the mental health and substance use specialist, she said. 

“If anyone does move in here and they have problematic substance use… we’ll be looking at transferring them to alternative housing that’s more appropriate for their support needs,” Kanters said.

They also will sign a program agreement committing to not use illegal drugs on-site as part of their commitment to ongoing recovery and wellness, said Samantha Cacnio, senior communications advisor with B.C. Housing, via email.

A community advisory committee has also been established and a mail drop has been done for area residents. CMHA has also reached out to local businesses and the school board to provide information about the complex, Kanters said.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 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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News from © iNFOnews, 2021

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