Kelowna’s newest supportive housing complex will open Aug. 17 - InfoNews

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Kelowna’s newest supportive housing complex will open Aug. 17

Protesters against what was called the Agassiz supportive housing complex worried that seniors living nearby would be at risk. It's opening next month as Stephen Village.
July 30, 2020 - 5:01 PM

Kelowna's newest supportive housing facility will be open for new residents later this month.

Residents will start moving into Stephen Village as of Aug. 17. Initially referred to as Agassiz because it’s located on Agassiz Road just behind Orchard Plaza, the project sparked community outrage when plans were announced for the complex in the fall of 2018.

It went ahead despite that opposition.

READ MORE: Despite fierce opposition, Kelowna council strongly supports housing project for homeless

B.C. Housing announced the opening today, July 31.

It has 51 small housing units and offers supports, which includes a drug injection site. The fact that residents would be allowed to use illegal drugs while living there was at the core of community objections.

It will be run by the John Howard Society.

Once it opens, Stephen Village, in theory, could eliminate the need for people to tent at the City of Kelowna mandated camping site on Recreation Avenue.

Darren Caul, the city’s community safety director, told there were an average of 45 people sleeping at Recreation Avenue each night in July but that average has now dropped to about 25 as more space has opened up in emergency shelters.

The city has interpreted provincial court rulings to mean that it has to allow people to camp on city land if there are not enough housing units for them. Kelowna has taken the approach that they can only camp overnight and have to pack up their tents every morning.

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