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Kelowna  

Former Daily Courier building to serve as winter shelter

Shelter locations revealed

The former downtown home of the Kelowna Daily Courier will serve as a homeless shelter this winter. 

The building at 550 Doyle Avenue will provide about 40 beds and be operated by the Kelowna Gospel Mission.

The Doyle Avenue location is in addition to the Welcome Inn at 1265 Ellis Street, which operated as an emergency shelter last winter, and will provide 39 beds operated by Metro Community this year as well. It is planning to open on Nov. 2. 

Metro Central at 1262 St. Paul Street will continue to operate as a drop-in centre with the addition of emergency mats for surge capacity during extreme winter weather. 

“The hygiene centre that was open to support those experiencing homelessness through the summer closed in order to train staff and set up the space for winter sheltering,” said Amber Webster-Kotak, executive director Metro Community. “We are pleased to be able to offer these vital services in our community this year.”  

UBC Okanagan and the Mission Group recently purchased the building with plans to construct a new downtown Kelowna campus, but will not be demolishing the structure for some time.

“This region is stronger when we build capacity through partnerships and collaboration,” says Lesley Cormack, UBC Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal at UBC Okanagan. “Our university is committed to these partnerships and working toward solutions to the challenges faced by members of our community.  

“There is an urgent need for winter shelter space, particularly in this year of pandemic response,” says Cormack. “Through this initiative -- with Kelowna Gospel Mission operating a shelter using a site that will be redeveloped next year -- there will be much-needed assistance for people experiencing homelessness over the coming winter months. Establishing a well-resourced temporary shelter, with appropriate professional staffing and a range of supports available on-site, is a meaningful way our community can contribute to improving health and wellbeing for those who are most in need.”  

There are currently four shelters operating in Kelowna and with these two additional locations, there will be a total of approximately 217 beds available on a nightly basis this winter. Shelter guests will have access to daily meals, storage for their belongings, washrooms and amenity space. Staff will be on site at all times when the shelter is open.



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