The City of Kelowna’s temporary outdoor shelter on Recreation Avenue. (File)

BC Housing secures more homeless shelter spaces in Kelowna amid COVID-19 crisis

BC Housing has announced an additional 100 beds for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

BC Housing has secured 100 additional beds for shelter spaces in Kelowna due to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as to combat issues surrounding physical distancing for people experiencing homelessness.

On April 26, the authority announced a total of 120 beds across four locations, including 40 beds at the Kelowna Curling Club.

“Providing safe, temporary accommodations and wraparound services for people facing homelessness have been an urgent priority for this government for a long time,” said Shane Simpson B.C.’s Minister of Social Development and Poverty Reduction. “Now, more than ever, with the concurrent emergencies of the pandemic and the ongoing opioid crisis, it is time to implement long-term housing solutions that take care of and protect our most vulnerable people.”

On April 7, the province announced just 20 spaces in Kelowna. Now, with a total of 120 beds, it is unclear what this means for the city’s temporary outdoor shelter at Recreation Avenue, kitty-corner from the 40 new beds at the Curling Club.

Capital News has reached out to the City of Kelowna for comment.

In Vancouver and Victoria, a ministerial order issued the closure of large encampments in both Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park and Victoria’s Topaz Park. The hundreds of people currently residing at those encampments will be offered temporary accommodations in hotels and community centres.

The order does not apply to anybody outside of those parks, but several new spaces were secured in B.C.’s interior.

A total of 114 spaces at four sites are available in Vernon, an increase from the initial 84. Salmon arm now has 63 spaces at two sites, with 58 of them at McGuire Lake Park. While initially Penticton only had 19 beds announced by the province, that number has skyrocketed to 137, the Okanagan’s largest amount. West Kelowna also has 20 beds available at one site.

READ MORE: Residents experiencing homelessness back outdoors as temporary winter shelters close

READ MORE: Government response to people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

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