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New cold-weather shelter to open in Kelowna at former food bank site on Ellis Street

The former food bank on Ellis Street in Kelowna will reopen as a cold-weather shelter for the homeless either later this month or in early January.
The former food bank on Ellis Street in Kelowna will reopen as a cold-weather shelter for the homeless either later this month or in early January. Google Maps

The old food bank site on Ellis Street in Kelowna will become a temporary cold-weather shelter for the homeless, according to the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing.

According to a news release issued on Tuesday, the shelter will be located at 1265 Ellis and has an anticipated opening of late December or early January.

The shelter, which is undergoing renovations, will start with 20 mats, and could build up to 40 people, depending on the site’s ability to secure staff and volunteers.

READ MORE: Downtown Kelowna cold-weather homeless facility to open as temperatures plummet

The site will operate until March 31, 2020, and will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The ministry said at least two staff members will be on site at all times.

“Shelter guests will have access to daily meals, storage for their belongings, washrooms and a common room,” the ministry said in a press release.

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According to site organizers, Kelowna has an estimated 80-plus homeless people, but that even with this facility, approximately 40 more people will still be sleeping outside.

The site is being dubbed “Welcome Inn,” and is being co-managed by Tara Tschritter and Jason Siebenga.

Tschritter previously managed Inn from the Cold.

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Kelowna residents petitioning against Knox Mountain homeless encampment site

According to Siebenga, the site was identified by Journey Home, with B.C. Housing agreeing to fund it and the Gospel Mission providing meals.

“Like many of you, I have watched this crisis unfold from the warmth and comfort of my home over the past few months” Tschritter said in an email.

“With funding and a great location we are confident that volunteers and shelter staff will emerge from our compassionate community.”

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