Kelowna outdoor overnight homeless shelter relocating | Kelowna News | iNFOnews

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Kelowna outdoor overnight homeless shelter relocating

FILE PHOTO - Homeless shelter site on Recreation Avenue.
September 23, 2020 - 3:28 PM

The outdoor homeless overnight shelter on Kelowna's Recreation Avenue will be relocating as 38 supportive housing units have been added to Ellis Street.

With the new units and supports on Ellis Street, the space on Recreation Avenue that is being used as an outdoor overnight shelter will be relocated to 890 Baillie Avenue this week, according to the City of Kelowna in a press release. Since 2017, 231 units of supportive housing have been added in Kelowna, including the most recent addition of Stephen Village.

“Communities across B.C. and Canada are experiencing an ongoing homelessness crisis that is exacerbated by the uncertainty caused by COVID-19,” said Darren Caul, community safety director, in the press release. “While we are doing everything possible to ensure enough shelter space is available, solutions take time.”

READ MORE: As homeless shelters close in Kelowna, Recreation Avenue campground comes back to life

The city can identify which parks or publics spaces can be used for overnight sheltering, and the law of B.C. states that when there isn't enough housing or shelter for those experiencing homelessness, cities may not prohibit parks and spaces from being used.

In addition to the housing on Ellis Street, 49 units on McCurdy Road are expected to open by early 2021 along with an emergency winter shelter space.  The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, BC Housing and the City are working on securing the emergency shelter, according to the press release.

“Our goal this winter is to try and ensure that we have enough indoor shelter space available so that no one has a need to shelter outside this winter,” said Caul, in the press release. 

The overnight shelter will be available between 6 p.m. to 9 a.m. and areas for shelter set-up will be clearly marked. Basic amenities will be also provided including washrooms, garbage disposal and sharps disposal.

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