Kelowna’s Inn from the Cold is on the hunt for a new home, and says it has less than 30 days to find one.
Stating it’s looking for a “knight in shining armour” to help find a new space to lease, the Inn is pledging to be a good neighbour. The Inn houses homeless residents, and, if a new shelter isn’t found, it says Kelowna’s homeless street population will “jump by almost 25 per cent.”
WATCH BELOW: Time is growing short for a homeless shelter in Kelowna. It’s being forced to move out of its current location and if it can’t find a new home, there are fears even more people will end up on downtown streets. Klaudia Van Emmerik reports.
“While possible locations have surfaced, the owners of the space are reluctant to lease to us once they realize we shelter the homeless,” said Inn executive director Jan Schulz. The Inn houses 45 homeless residents.
Schulz understands the hesitancy, but says Inn from the Cold has ‘good neighbour protocols’ stating that “The Inn recognizes the need to minimize impact on the surrounding community and is prepared to do whatever it takes to be a good neighbour.”
According to Schulz, those protocols include maintaining security patrols to help keep its guests and nearby community safe from those not staying with the Inn. The patrols also ensure guests follow protocols. Other practices include set hours for guest intake, so people aren’t coming and going at all hours; designating a side or rear guest entrance to keep the street front clear; daily cleaning, both inside and out assisted by those staying; and scheduled smoking breaks in a designated area with garbage disposal.
Schulz says while the Inn is prepared to take anything at this point, the hope is for a 2,500 square foot or larger warehouse-type facility with one large open room, preferably in an industrial part of town away from downtown. A minimal kitchen facility is needed and the Inn is prepared to augment onsite washroom facilities, as necessary. Ideally, the Inn would like a one-year lease with the opportunity to extend.
Schulz added that the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce is helping by mining its membership and for a solution.
“We’ve met with several of our property-related members,” said Chamber president Carmen Sparg. “This is a tough assignment, but we’re working on helping the Inn to the best of our abilities. The Inn has always done a lot of things right with this difficult social environment – they’ve put their hearts and souls into helping the less fortunate in Kelowna.”
Anyone who may know of possible space options for the Inn are urged to contact Schulz at email@example.com.