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VIDEO: Province announces new supportive housing project in Kelowna

The provincial government chose a vacant lot in Kelowna as the backdrop for its latest efforts to address housing and addiction problems in BC communities Monday.

The facility on Pacific Avenue in Central Kelowna will be home to 20 complex care housing units for people with mental health and addiction issues.

The Kelowna project will also include 20 or more additional supportive housing beds along with the complex care beds in the same complex.

Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, made the announcement, flanked by Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

It is the second phase of the province's 'Homes for People' plan which places this kind of housing in communities all over BC.

Today's announcement means over 240 complex care homes will be built around the province.

Similar housing will be built in Abbotsford, Kamloops, Burnaby, Nanaimo, New Westminster, Prince George, Sechelt, Surrey, Vancouver and Victoria will also benefit.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

The province will build and operate the facility, but the city provides the land with an estimated value of $4 million.

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

After the announcement, Whiteside was asked whether 20 beds of complex care is enough considering the need in communities such as Kelowna.

"It's very specialized care," she pointed out, adding that it's a new approach to housing first introduced in 2022 with 500 spaces across the province.

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

"We're learning a lot," said Whiteside. "We're building the evidence about what the are best practices and we're expanding it."

The Kelowna project will be situated directly behind the Columbus Centre apartments, and across from some newer apartment buildings on Pacific Ave.

Mayor Dyas said he expects some pushback from neighbours.

"We're going to manage that to the best of our ability," said Dyas, "to make sure that it's operational, it takes care of those individuals, but it's not an inconvenience for the neighbourhood."

<who> Photo Credit: NowMedia

It gives people a new lease on life," said Minister Whiteside. "We want to make sure people can lead happy, productive lives."

There's no word yet on when construction might begin.

The provincial announcement also included 40 additional housing units specifically for indigenous-led initiatives around BC.

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