The City of Kelowna has received $3.2 million for improved outdoor camping spaces for homeless residents of the community.
The grant provided by the federal and provincial governments through UBCM will go towards reimbursement for construction and operation of the purpose-built overnight camping location at Richter Street and Weddell Place.
The funds will also be used for a day-use site with personal storage, outreach support services and access to personal hygiene services. An awareness campaign will be launched to reduce the stigma around homelessness.
PEOPLE Employment Services, Metro Community, Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society and the Canadian Mental Health Association will also benefit from the grant.
“It’s a substantial achievement and I’m very pleased to see this grant awarded to the City of Kelowna,” said Mayor Colin Basran.
“The COVID-19 pandemic, the opioid crisis, a challenging housing market, and lack of affordable housing have added complexity to the housing landscape in the last year and contributed to the dynamic nature of homelessness.”
Basran says the grant shows all levels of government are working together to improve conditions for people dealing with homelessness.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for us all, but it has been acutely felt by people in Kelowna who are sheltering outdoors,” said Darren Caul, community safety director.
“The goal of this grant is to improve health and safety specifically for this population. We’ve worked with the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness to develop a comprehensive plan to improve conditions for people sheltering outdoors and we’re eager to take this funding and put the plan into action.”