There's a new club in town. It's called the 30K Club and it's goal is to help Kelowna's homeless.
In conjunction with the Kelowna Gospel Mission celebrating its 30th anniversary, it has launched the 30K Club where members commit to donating $30 every month on an ongoing basis. All proceeds will go toward transitional and affordable housing in Kelowna.
The campaign officially kicked off Thursday at a transitional house for men on Wardlaw Avenue and includes TV commercials featuring several high-profile personalities in Kelowna such as: Mayor Sharon Shepherd, Kelowna RCMP Superintendent Bill McKinnon, Ross Gorman of Gorman Brothers Mill and Reverend Albert Baldeo.
The Gospel Mission's Executive Director, Randy Benson, says 30K only made sense.
"We knew our 30th anniversary was coming up and we thought about holding a gala or something like that, but that doesn't have a lasting effect. We wanted to do something that would have an impact on Kelowna and that's when we came up with the 30K Club."
Benson says if the campaign is successful, Kelowna can expect to see more transitional houses popping up.
"We're going to be looking at duplexes and fourplexes and we would like to look at larger, single room occupancy houses. It really depends on how big the club gets."
Benson says, ideally, they would like to open a new house every year. He adds that the Gospel Mission will be asking the government to match any funds raised during the campaign.
He says there's a desperate need for housing for the homeless in Kelowna.
"When you consider that we have at least 300 homeless and many unaccounted for, I would say there's a desperate need. We have the shelter space, but we don't have enough affordable or transitional housing, so I would say it's a desperate situation."
Benson says residents need not worry about transitional houses popping up in their neighbourhoods. He says they make good neighbours.
"This house on Wardlaw is a good example. The residents have realized we're the best neighbours in the neighbourhood. The guys take care of the yard and it's one of the best looking places on the street."
Many had thought Thursday's announcement was going to deal with the future of the Gospel Mission and it moving to another location -- something that has been in discussion for years, but Benson says it's not going anywhere -- at least not in the immediate future.
"We're staying where we are for the time being."
Benson says the Gospel Mission has been talking with developer Phil Milroy about it's future. Milroy wants to revamp the downtown core and has Kelowna's blessing.
Benson says any public funding dedicated to relocating the Gospel Mission has been re-directed to a transitional house for women.
RCMP Superintendent Bill McKinnon is among a list of high profile personalities featured in the 30K commercials.
by Kelly Hayes - Story: 36834
Jan 25, 2008 / 5:00 am
Jan 25, 2008 / 5:00 am
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