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Kelowna News

LETTER: Kelowna outdoor sheltering site

September 21, 2021 - 11:15 AM



Dear editor,

The following sentence from your article on the City of Kelowna’s outdoor sheltering improvement program requires further explanation:

“To put it into perspective, the city could have rented apartments with the grant money instead. The most recent data on median rents in Kelowna shows the rent for a one-bedroom apartment is $1,600 per month. That $3.2 million would have provided 167 people with an apartment for a year.”

This is why renting apartments was not an option:

  • Housing individuals was not an eligible expense under the Strengthening Communities grant – the grant was designed to support the unsheltered homeless population and address related community impacts. The funding program focuses on the following outcomes:
  1. Improved health and safety of unsheltered people experiencing homelessness including reduced risk of COVID-19;
  2. Reduced community concerns about public health and safety in neighbourhoods where unsheltered  populations are seeking temporary shelter;
  3. Improved coordination with health/social service providers, Indigenous organizations and others;
  4. Increased capacity to work with people experiencing homeless and Indigenous organizations towards culturally safe and trauma-informed responses.
  • If housing individuals was an eligible cost, the cost of housing individuals as noted by Rob Munro is inaccurate as it does not recognize the cost of housing with supports -  health and community supports - to support individuals to maintain their housing.

Sue Wheeler
Social Development manager
City of Kelowna

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