Kelowna’s homeless will have a roof over their heads until at least the end of the year.
This is thanks to a second lease extension for Inn from the Cold (the Inn), which will keep the emergency shelter open until Dec. 31.
The initial lease extension was set to expire on Wednesday.
“We’re grateful to our current landlord that we can continue to shelter some of Kelowna’s most vulnerable, although a closure date in the dead of winter is troublesome as these people will likely have nowhere else to go, said Jan Schulz, Inn from the Cold’s executive director.
For some of those using the Inn’s services, they’ll move to Kelowna’s first purpose-built modular housing on Nov. 1.
Despite this, the Inn remains at capacity, as do other shelters in the area, Schultz says uncertainty about the Inn’s future comes with its challenges.
That includes heightened anxiety amongst those being sheltered, difficulties retaining qualified staff and heavy workloads for those who do remain.
“I can’t imagine anyone finds palatable the alternative of more people living rough on Kelowna’s streets in winter,” Shulz says.
“Between managing the shelter short-staffed, trying to locate new space and facilitating those moving to modular housing, we are stretched pretty thing and could really use some help.”
The inn is looking for 2,500 square feet of leasable space, warehouse or otherwise, ideally in a commercial setting outside of the city’s downtown core.
Wherever that new area is, Schultz says extensive good neighbour protocols will be employed to ensure a minimal impact on that community.
Anyone who thinks that can help is urged to contact Schulz at firstname.lastname@example.org.