Hub for families in need

It's called a Family Hub, a sort of one-stop shop for accessing services for families in need.

It officially opened Friday morning at Pearson Road Elementary school in Rutland.

About 20 different agencies from around the city are involved in the Family Hub.

Ellen Boelcke, executive director of Kelowna Community Resources, the lead agency, explained the hub this way.

"It's a place where families can come, with children, to a place they feel safe," said Boelcke.

"They can talk to a staff member and find out what is available in the community and how they can get help. It's not meant to duplicate the other agencies' work."

There is a triage person on staff who would find out a family's specific needs and either hook them up with a particular agency, or bring someone from that agency into the Hub to assist.

Boelcke said the Family Hub was set up in Rutland because there is a lack of services in that area of Kelowna.

"What about transportation for families who may have two, or three children to get to downtown and Interior Health," she said.

"This is a safe place. They want to come here, they feel comfortable here, rather than going into a government building."

The school district is providing the space free of charge.

Pearson Road principal Rob Zoppi was involved with opening a Hub at a school in Penticton, and when he moved to Kelowna, he said he brought the idea forward for this school.

"There was already interest established, and it evolved from there," he said.

The provincial government has pledged $52,000 a year over the next five years while the Central Okanagan United Way will provide $97,000 over the next three.

The City of Kelowna has provided a one-time grant of $9,550.

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