Only two 'direct' complaints registered against Heath House in Kelowna - InfoNews

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Only two 'direct' complaints registered against Heath House in Kelowna

Ann Howard, Interior Regional Director for B.C. Housing.
July 26, 2019 - 3:00 PM

KELOWNA - While social media and public meetings are full of complaints about the impact of supportive housing projects on surrounding neighbourhoods, B.C. Housing says there have only been two “direct” complaints at Heath House.

Opened in January in a renovated motel on Highway 97 near Leathead Road, Heath House is managed by the Canadian Mental Health Association and took in a number of homeless people who had been staying at the Inn From the Cold emergency shelter when it closed.

It triggered a great deal of concern from neighbouring business who tried to organize a neighbourhood walk-about with Mayor Colin Basran that he cancelled because protesters against the McCurdy Road facility were expected to show up.

“The operator (of Heath House) has only received two direct complaints,” Ann Howard, regional director of B.C. Housing, which funds the facility, said during a media scrum earlier this week.

When asked if that meant formal written complaints, she indicated that it would only take a simple phone call to be considered a direct complaint.

When iNFOnews.ca talked to neighbouring businesses earlier this month, Jazz Sekhon, sales manager at the next-door Day’s Inn indicated she had made numerous complaints.

“I’ve repeatedly physically gone there, after kicking people out,” she told iNFOnews.ca on July 4. “I’m told ‘we’ll look into it.’”

Jessica Samuels, communications and events manager with the Canadian Mental Health Association told iNFOnews.ca one of the complaints was over noise and the other was about people climbing over a fence. The fence has been repaired and staff are monitoring noise more closely, Samuels said.

“Have we addressed more than two issues surrounding Heath House? Most definitely,” she said.

The manager has an “ongoing dialogue” with neighbouring businesses and residents dealing with concerns as they come up, Samuels said.

Some of those have nothing to do with Heath House residents but staff are going out into the wider neighbourhood and doing some cleanup. Broader neighbourhood security patrols will also be set up.

Those types of complaints are being dealt with on an ongoing basis but as far as B.C. Housing is concerned, they’re not registered as complaints. 


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