There will be a noticeable boost in people living on Kelowna’s streets, a non-profit society said on Tuesday, unless it can find a new place to rent.
Inn from the Cold said its eviction date of September 30th from its location at 1157 Sutherland Avenue is quickly nearing, and no replacement space has been found. Inn from the Cold operates a year-round shelter for the homeless.
The non-profit society says despite its best efforts, nothing has surfaced in regards to renting or leasing a new space. Inn from the Cold says it currently houses about 45 people, and that its lease is about to expire because the landlord wants to redevelop the building.
Inn from the Cold was given notice of termination at the beginning of August. It has been located at Sutherland Avenue since 2007.
“Unless we find new space, however temporary, we will have to close our doors September 30, and at that moment, the population of homeless people living rough on Kelowna’s streets will jump by almost 25 percent,” said Inn from the Cold executive director Jan Schulz.
The non-profit society says it will consider “any space in any location, including churches, halls, industrial units, buildings awaiting redevelopment . . . virtually any space where they can house some of Kelowna’s most vulnerable.”
Schulz added that relocating the Inn’s homeless population to another shelter is not an option — all three of Kelowna’s emergency homeless shelters are currently at or beyond capacity.
Schulz also said shelters are not the solution to address homelessness, adding that “nothing would make us happier than if we were able to work ourselves out of a job.”
Rather than primarily relying on shelters, Schulz pointed to Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy — a comprehensive, multi-faceted plan to ending homelessness in Kelowna — as the solution.
“Unfortunately, Kelowna’s Journey Home strategy, which includes permanent, purpose-built modular housing for people transitioning out of homelessness, won’t come soon enough, which is why we are desperate to find an alternative shelter location to bridge the gap” says Schulz.