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The City of West Kelowna and the Province, through BC Housing, have identified a site for a new temporary winter shelter.

The shelter will provide 40 more people experiencing homelessness with a safe, warm place during the coldest months of the year.

Given the urgent need for the shelter in the community, BC Housing intends to submit a temporary use permit application to the City of West Kelowna on Dec. 10. If approved, the shelter is anticipated to open between early January and end of March 2020.

The shelter would be located at 1160 Stevens Rd. and operated by the West Kelowna Shelter Society (WKSS). The society will have at least two staff members on site around the clock. WKSS has been effectively managing shelter and housing at 3672 Brown Rd. since December 2018.

Modular trailers will be brought to the site with space for bunks, showers, toilets and amenity space. In addition to the supports provided by WKSS staff, Interior Health would also provide health services based on individual needs.

The intake process would prioritize West Kelowna residents. According to the 2018 Point in Time Homeless Count, 72 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in the City of West Kelowna.

Safety of the residents and the community is a top priority and WKSS is an experienced housing provider committed to being a good neighbour. Part of this commitment includes communication with the neighbourhood, identifying guest expectations, rules and regulations, and addressing concerns in a timely manner. Fencing, security cameras and outdoor lighting will be installed.

These shelter spaces are in addition to the 160 spaces available in the neighbouring city of Kelowna.

In addition to shelter spaces, the Province’s Building BC program is funding 4,700 new supportive housing units over 10 years for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness throughout the province.