Signs and petitions were passed around outside an information session about the McCurdy Road supportive housing project earlier this year. (Caitlin Clow - Capital News)

Defining the difference: Supportive housing and emergency shelters in Kelowna

The Journey Home Strategy calls for both types of housing to help people experiencing homelessness

The conversation around supportive housing and emergency shelters in Kelowna is growing, but understanding the difference between the two can be a challenge.

The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society, along with BC Housing and numerous community partners in Kelowna, reached out to the media to clarify Journey Home’s strategy and to explain the distinction between the two types of housing.

With the relocation of various shelters, the opening of new supportive housings and other initiatives over the past few weeks, the Journey Home Society hopes that a greater understanding of the two will lead the Okanagan towards a healthy and inclusive community.

“Even though these two programs are vastly different, they both provide an essential service,” said BC Housing spokesperson Laura Mathews.

“When you are experiencing homelessness, your sole focus is on where you are going to stay safe, sleep, and where you’ll get your next meal.

“Only when those basic needs are covered can people begin to think about their health or focus on goals that can help them move forward.”

READ MORE: Summerland care facilities work to protect residents from COVID-19

According to BC Housing, supportive housing includes an application process, a private unit, monthly rent and 24/7 access to support staff.

Shelters on the other hand, offer a first-come, first-served model, temporary access to beds, no payments, shared sleeping spaces and available outreach workers that look to help with the transition.

According to the provincial agency, BC Housing provides funding for the operational shelters in Kelowna which account for 160 of the 216 shelter spaces available to local people experiencing homelessness.

Since 2018, close to 90 people have been housed by housing first programs in Kelowna.

Three provincially-funded supportive housing projects are currently in development in Kelowna and will provide more than 150 spaces.

The John Howard Society will be one of the city groups that will continue to help maintain various shelters.

“One of the major goals of people in a shelter is to actually obtain secure and stable housing,” said society executive director Dawn Himer.

“The shelter supports individuals to engage positively with the community. This is often the first step towards gaining stability and more permanent housing.”

READ MORE: Concerns raised over COVID-19 outbreak plans for Indigenous communities

Journey Home shelters and supportive housing options are often at capacity in Kelowna. 

With more options scheduled to open in the next few months and then more in the next few years, Journey Home’s long-term strategy will continue to support those in need of housing and support.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Police keep eye on motorbike gang in Kelowna for poker run

The Throttle Lockers Motorcycle Club Poker Run was to have taken place on July 11

UPDATED: Interior Health to add 495 long-term seniors care beds

Nelson, Kelowna, Kamloops, Vernon and Penticton to receive new facilities

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

B.C. records 62 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths since Friday

Province has just over 200 active cases

Summerland approves solar project

Despite community opposition, council voted 4-3 for Cartwright Mountain location

Police search for suspect in assault on woman in downtown Kelowna

Kelowna police received a report a woman had been assaulted by an unknown man on July 12

Hotel rooms for B.C. homeless too hasty, NDP government told

Businesses forced out, but crime goes down, minister says

Two positive COVID-19 cases at Oliver farm

The risk of exposure to the general public related to this farm is considered to be low

Oliver Town Hall closed to public as staffer displays COVID-19 symptoms

One staff member at Oliver Town Hall is being tested for coronavirus

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

B.C. government prepares for COVID-19 economic recovery efforts

New measures after July consultation, Carole James says

Horoscopes for the week of July 13

Weekly horoscopes by Morgan Fava

Most Read