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Kelowna News

Temporary emergency shelter opening in Kelowna

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A new winter shelter will be opening in Kelowna soon and the province is also working on a hygiene station for the community.

“We know there’s an urgent need to provide additional shelter and services for people experiencing homelessness in the community, especially during COVID-19,” said David Eby, Attorney General and Minister Responsible for Housing, in a press release issued by the province yesterday, Jan. 21.

“The pandemic has compounded the challenges faced by vulnerable people, so I’m very pleased to see Kelowna residents ensuring that people in need are supported.”

The temporary shelter, located at 1083 Richter St., developed in partnership with the province and Turning Points Collaborative Society will open Jan. 25.

It will provide up to 38 beds for people experiencing homelessness in the community. The shelter will be open 24 hours a day, providing shelter users with meal services, showers, laundry, access to social workers, referrals to community services and harm reduction services.

READ MORE: What a difference a year makes for the homeless in Kelowna

Turning Points Collaborative Society will operate the shelter until the pandemic risk to this vulnerable population has passed, according to the press release.

The province is also working with Metro Community to open a hygiene centre in the city.

The Metro Community hygiene centre will provide people with laundry facilities, showers and access to harm reduction services. Located at 1262 St. Paul St., it is scheduled to open in early February and will open daily from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. The centre will be a permanent site and part of Metro Community’s drop-in program.

Hours will likely be extended from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. when the Welcome Inn emergency shelter on Ellis Street closes, as scheduled, on March 31.

There are currently three year-round shelters and three temporary shelters operating in Kelowna. Including the new temporary shelter, there will be roughly 265 beds available on a nightly basis this winter.

The province, through B.C. Housing, is providing approximately $430,000 in operating funding for the temporary shelter and $305,900 for the hygiene centre.

In addition to shelters in Kelowna, the province has worked with community partners to open 225 supportive homes over the last three years.

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