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Kelowna  

Help a home for the homeless

Finishing touches are being made to the Chandler Street Housing Project, but an unforeseen setback is causing financial trouble for the charitable organization running the project.

Inn from the Cold has received $30,000 of in-kind donations to see the permanent housing project take shape, but now they need to raise a few more dollars.

Most of the renovations are done, says Inn from the Cold Coordinator Tara Tschritter, but the organization needs $18,000 more to get the building up to fire safety code.

“It’s also to complete the plumbing and electrical, which has come in more than what was anticipated.”

The project, which features eight bedrooms upstairs and offices located downstairs, will also have round-the-clock staffing.

It was found that a fire separation wall needed to be installed in order for the house to meet fire safety codes with the City of Kelowna -- this has taken a toll on the budget.

However, Tschritter says they do have a solution in mind if community members are able to help.

“On our website we have an ‘IndieGogo’ campaign, to help us cover the costs with the fire separation.”

When the house finally opens its doors October 1, the project will only accept male clients at first, who will be able to apply for either a large bedroom or a small bedroom depending on finances.

Tschritter estimates there are roughly 400 people living in Kelowna who are experiencing homelessness, of which about 60 of those are experiencing chronic homeless.

“This housing is focused on providing support for people who are chronically homeless in our community, so taking people right off the street, right out of the shelters, and putting them into supportive housing.”

Geoff Haney knows all about chronic homelessness and getting oneself off the street into a supportive program. He was a client at the Inn from the Cold shelter several years ago and will now take over the role of caretaker at the home.

“I think it is pretty beneficial for them (chronically homeless men) to have something stable, to show they do have some self worth,” says Haney. “You know, it takes a while for a person to realize that when you get down in the trenches.”

But there is a fear that if the $18,000 dollars isn’t raised, Inn from the Cold will have to take funds from their cold weather shelter budget.  

“Right now we want to let the community know that anything they can do to help us will offset these renovation costs. Then we won’t have to be taking out of our shelter budget," says Tschritter.

"This way our (cold weather) shelter can open on November 1, as usual, for those individuals who will not be housed in this housing.”

She also explains that they are in need of people who are willing to volunteer for heavy lifting, to arrange furniture, and to take scraps to the dump in the coming days.

If you can lend your time or a hand please contact [email protected]

The Chandler Street Housing Project will have an open house on September 23 from 1 to 3 p.m.

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