Kelowna mayor advocating for more tiny homes for third site

More tiny homes wanted

While a decision where the final 60 transitional homes will be located is still a few weeks away Kelowna's mayor has an idea what he would like to see.

During a one-on-one interview with Castanet News, Mayor Tom Dyas indicated his preference would be for the tiny homes, similar to those set to welcome individuals sometime next week.

"I am advocating for the tiny homes once again," said Dyas.

"We still haven't completed what that negotiation will look like and where the exact location is. We do need to make certain it's city land and the utilities are right there.

"City staff have looked at three possible sites but we also want to make sure it is diversified throughout our community."

The 60 homes would complete the 180 agreed to between the city and BC Housing. Along with the STEP Place site on Crowley Avenue the city is also preparing the Trailhead site on Highway 97 which will feature prefabricated modular buildings to house 60.

Once work is complete on the Crowley site either late this week or early next, Dyas says contractors will turn their attention to the Highway 97 site to get it ready for occupancy sometime in April.

Once fully occupied, the 180 transitional homes will serve as a way to move individuals living on the streets and in shelters on to the next step.

"Even with STEP the individuals who are moving into these sites are individuals who are in shelters currently. We have 280 individuals in shelters... they are at about 93 or 94 per cent capacity," says Dyas.

"They are going to move from shelters into these units. Then we will look at advancing them into more permanent forms of housing and also assist them in attaining employment."

People living in encampments will fill the spots of people moving from shelters into the transitional homes.

"It also allows for the service providers to qualify the individuals. We hope to bring the numbers down substantially and reduce encampments."

As for expanding the program beyond the 180 homes currently in the pipelines, Dyas says that expansion will likely move outward to other communities.

He says there have been discussions with mayors to allocate these transitional homes in different areas of the valley.

"If we are looking at saying we have successfully been able to have 180 in our community, what would be a reasonable amount in Lake Country, what would be a reasonable amount in West Kelowna, what would be a reasonable amount in Vernon and Penticton?

"The idea is that it's not just one community absorbing all of it, there is a distribution throughout the valley that is put upon all communities."

"We all work together."

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