Temporary Cornerstone shelter in Kelowna to remain open until June | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Temporary Cornerstone shelter in Kelowna to remain open until June

The Cornerstone emergency shelter will remain open until June.
March 05, 2019 - 4:18 PM

KELOWNA - The province has announced a temporary emergency homeless shelter in downtown Kelowna will stay open until June, and the local business community is not impressed.

The Cornerstone shelter, which was originally slated to be a temporary refuge for homeless people in the city during the fall and winter of 2017-18, was originally scheduled to close in March 2018. It was extended one year and was supposed to be closed at the end of this month.

Both the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Kelowna Association were quick to voice displeasure with the province's decision.

“There is no doubt that this news will concern a number of businesses in the area, but they can take some solace in the guarantee from B.C. Housing that the scope of operations will be reduced and, eventually, the temporary shelter will be closed by summer as more appropriate housing options become available,” the Chamber said in a media release.

“It’s cold outside and the chamber appreciates that finding alternative facilities has been difficult,” states the Chamber release. “We recognize how challenging it can be to find suitable sites. A short-term extension to the Cornerstone lease is preferable to the erection of a tent city in Kelowna. Caring for the homeless is the right thing to do.”

The Downtown Kelowna Association release adopted a similar tone.

“Every person deserves to have a roof over their head, regardless of their personal situation,” the release states. “The solution lies with providing innovative supportive housing options, alongside improved mental health, addiction and policing services."

The downtown association also acknowledged the difficulty having Cornerstone operate for so long near Kelowna’s permanent Gospel Mission shelter.

“We recognize that the presence of the Cornerstone facility on Leon has caused numerous difficulties for the DKA’s member businesses over the past 15 months including untoward behaviour and vandalism of Downtown property,” the release states. “The fact is, nobody — including the DKA — would have wanted all 80 of Cornerstone’s residents to be left out on the street following an abrupt closing of the facility.”

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