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More transitional housing now complete for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

Click to play video: 'More transitional housing opens in Kelowna'
More transitional housing opens in Kelowna
Almost three months after 60 tiny homes opened in downtown Kelowna, more transitional housing is finally complete. The project's completion along the highway now means a total of 120 transitional housing units, to help get people off the streets, out of shelters, and in some cases out of their vehicles where they have been living. As Klaudia Van Emmerik reports, it's all in an effort to make a dent in the homelessness crisis. – May 14, 2024

Almost three months after 60 tiny homes opened in downtown Kelowna, B.C., a second transitional housing site is finally complete.

“We’re going to be providing housing to 60 people who are currently experiencing homelessness in our community and this is going to be a stepping stone for them so it’s transitional housing for individuals,” said Tara Tschritter, Turning Points Collaborative Society’s regional director of the Southern Interior.

Turning Points Collaborative Society is the operator of the site known as Trailside, which is located between the Okanagan Rail Trail and Highway 97.

The new location will provide 60 homes to people experiencing homelessness who are 55 and over and people with physical disabilities.

“A lot of our folks are currently living in our shelters, some people are living in their vehicles, some people are living outside,” Tschritter said.

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According to Tschritter, the oldest resident who will reside at Trailside is in his 80s.

“It’s quite heartbreaking the amount of people we are seeing cycle into homelessness simply due to the lack of affordability,” Tschritter said.

Turning Points gave media a tour of the facility on Tuesday ahead of the first residents moving into the modular housing on Wednesday.

Click to play video: 'Residents who now live in tiny homes in downtown Kelowna’s north end are hopeful for future.'
Residents who now live in tiny homes in downtown Kelowna’s north end are hopeful for future.

Residents will all have a room to themselves, which includes a bed, dresser, desk, chair and TV.

The facility includes a kitchen and dining room where two meals a day will be served.

There will also be life skills programming in place and residents can access connections to community services.

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In addition, there will be licensed practical nurses and care aides working on-site to help residents develop self-care plans.

The transitional housing is meant to help people eventually secure a more permanent living situation.

“So we see that people will be probably staying with us anywhere from three months to two years, I would imagine,” Tschritter said.

The project is a partnership between the City of Kelowna and B.C. Housing but there was no spokesperson for either on hand for Tuesday’s tour.

With numerous encampments on the rail trail in recent years, nearby business operators remain hopeful but concerned about the new neighbour.

“Lots of concerns,” said John Peitsch, owner of Majestic Mattress. “We’ve got fires constantly at the back of the building, we pick up needles, we will just have to see … is it going to help the problem or it is going to enhance it?”

The site’s operator said the area will be staffed 24-7 and it doesn’t anticipate any problems.

“It’s an expectation when you move into the program that we are good neighbours,” Tschritter said.  “The reality is that the people that we are serving are good people. I am not worried about it.  We have been operating programs for a long time at Turning Points and we really pride ourselves on being good neighbours.”

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The city is planning a third location for this type of transitional housing but where and when has not yet been announced.

Click to play video: 'Crews cleaning up rail trail encampment in Kelowna'
Crews cleaning up rail trail encampment in Kelowna

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