December 7, 2018 7:42 pm

Province announces new homeless shelter in West Kelowna

First United Church in West Kelowna will soon be hosting a 40-bed winter shelter, according to the provincial government.

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A new shelter for the homeless will soon be opening in West Kelowna, the provincial government announced on Friday.

Citing a need to provide a warm, safe place for homeless people in the Central Okanagan during winter, the government said it will be funding up to 40 new shelter spaces at First United Church on Brown Road. The shelter will be open 24 hours, seven days a week and will be operated in partnership with the city of West Kelowna and the West Kelowna Shelter Society.

The government says shelter guests will have “access to laundry, showers and opportunities to meet with representatives from health and other social service agencies.”

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The shelter is expected to open by Christmas and is expected to help relieve pressure from four other provincially funded shelters in the Kelowna area that are running at capacity or near capacity on a nightly basis. The four shelters include:

  • Kelowna’s Gospel Mission: 60 beds
  • NOW Canada’s shelter for women and children: 20 beds
  • Cornerstone co-ed shelter: 80 beds
  • Inn from the Cold: 35 beds

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The government added that more temporary shelters and extreme weather shelters may be added throughout winter as needed and where appropriate. These temporary shelter spaces supplement the almost 2,000 permanent, year-round shelter spaces available throughout B.C.

The government also said it is investing $1.2 billion over 10 years in the Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund, which will create 2,500 units of supportive housing for people who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

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