A new emergency winter shelter is opening its doors in Kelowna on New Year’s Day.
Welcome Inn invited the community to tour the temporary shelter on Monday afternoon. The shelter was announced in early December, with the goal of opening later in the month or early January.
Currently, there are 20 beds at the facility. Welcome Inn Site Coordinator Tara Tschritter said they hope to expand that to 40 beds but it depends on what the community needs.
“We’re going to start out small. We have a brand new staff team and a brand new team of volunteers so we’re up and running and fully-staffed,” Tschritter said.
“We’re going to be a 24/7 facility, so people can stay here all day and their meals will all be provided as well.”
Welcome Inn’s opening comes after the City of Kelowna announced the Recreation Avenue outdoor shelter has become unsustainable and removed most of the services there after the security firm didn’t renew its contract at the site.
A low-barrier bridge housing facility also opened up on Fuller Avenue in the last couple of weeks, which has helped open up space at Cornerstone and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.
Tschritter added they still do need some volunteers to come on board and help them out.
“We have 589 volunteer shifts we have to fill over the season in order to provide this service. So it’s really important that people who are interested in giving back and getting involved to sign up to volunteer,” she said.
“We would love to have people come down and see what they can do to help. We’re providing a lot of training for the community as well, which we’re excited about.”
For more information on how to get involved, you can visit Welcome Inn’s site.