New complex care, supportive housing project revealed in Kelowna

New complex care units

An empty lot on Kelowna’s Pacific Avenue will host 20 complex-care and 20 supportive housing units for those struggling with addictions and mental health.

Minister of mental health and addictions Jennifer Whiteside was in Kelowna Monday to announce 240 complex-care units across the province.

“Complex care housing provides the highest level of support for people who are facing a mix of complex and overlapping challenges,” said Whiteside.

“It helps people who are living with particularly difficult mental health issues including addiction and other health concerns that complicate their everyday life. They may be living with brain injuries, they may have mobility issues.”

The Kelowna units will be in a stand-alone development that is now going to a “design phase.” Officials could not provide an estimate as to when the building will reopen.

The City of Kelowna donated the land for the project, something that received praise from the minister.

“Kelowna has really come to the table as a true partner,” she said.

Mayor Tom Dyas said the city's land contribution is worth $4 million.

“We will be building as quickly as possible and opening the doors to the new facility which will have a significant impact on the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents," he said.

With hundreds of people living along Kelowna’s rail trail, officials were unable to provide a figure of how many people in the city are in need of a complex care unit.

Danielle Cameron, Interior Health director, told reporters her organization does not track the number of people in need of complex care “because there's multiple contributing factors that would make somebody eligible for this type of housing, but we know that there's many.”

In addition to Kelowna, 200 units were announced Monday for Nanaimo, New Westminster Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria.

Complex-care housing is voluntary and “person-centered” and allows people to live at the facility for as long as they need the care.

“This is not bed-based treatment for addictions — complex care care housing is designed to bring services to individuals who are at risk of homelessness, and people who were maybe cycling through episodes of episodic homelessness,” said Whiteside.

Since launching the complex-care program in 2022, the province has launched 443 of them in B.C., including 20 already up and running in Kelowna.

More Kelowna News