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City council participates in workshop for Community Shelter Plan to provide shelters to the homeless

New approach to shelters

Kelowna City Council provided feedback on Monday for the city’s community shelter plan.

The plan is currently in development and will be presented to community stakeholders before the final plan gets presented to council later this year. It is focused on providing shelter services through choice, community, safety and healing principles.

As part of the plan, shelter location considerations are crucial because they will help navigate the nuanced considerations that are looked at when selecting a shelter site and how they may integrate with the community.

“The concept of the Community Shelter Plan emerged from a community consultation process on the future of sheltering services in our community. The stakeholders involved in that process saw the value in such a plan, incorporating the views and wisdom of people who have experienced and are experiencing homelessness into a new and innovative vision for shelter services,” says social development manager Sue Wheeler.

“Having a clearly articulated plan will put Kelowna in a position to advocate for senior government investment in future shelter services that aligns with our community’s vision.”

A key benefit to the plan is the coordination it will bring to Kelowna shelter provisions. Shelters should provide a variety of health and wellness services and the Community Shelter Plan approach calls for smaller shelters that are dispersed and designed to accommodate a bigger range of choice and need.

The plan hopes to see shelters that are client oriented where equity and inclusion guide their operations, design and staff training.

“I’m really excited about this plan,” says executive director of the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society Stephanie Ball.

“It will be an important step forward for the organizations in Kelowna that are working to address homelessness. We’ve come a long way to better integrate all the different agencies involved in recent years and this plan will cement the progress that we’ve made to date."

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