Lease for Kelowna homeless shelter extended to Dec. 31

For now, Inn from the Cold will continue to shelter homeless citizens. Come January 1st, though, it’s eviction time. Again.

On Tuesday, Inn from the Cold executive director Jan Schulz announced that a second extension had been granted by the Inn’s landlord. Originally, the non-profit shelter was slated to close on September 30th, with the landlord wanting to redevelop the building that houses Inn from the Cold.

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Inn from the Cold operates a year-round shelter for approximately 45 homeless people, with rules and protocols they must follow. When the original September deadline neared, an extension to October 31st was granted. Now a second extension has been granted.

“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 Schulz.

Since being told the landlord wants to redevelop the building, Inn from the Cold has had trouble finding a new locale. Ideally, Schulz says the Inn is looking for 2,500 square feet of leasable space, preferably in a commercial setting outside of downtown.

Also, some Inn residents will be moving to a 46-unit complex on Commerce Avenue, a controversial social housing project that’s slated to open on November 1st.

Schulz says supportive housing is a stepping stone from homelessness and marginalization to security, belonging and contributing as a member of the community.

“Those approved for supportive housing will pay rent, but will also receive the necessary support to ensure their journey back from homelessness will be a success,” says Schulz.

Meanwhile, with its future in limbo, Schulz says the Inn is struggling.

“Surely, a solution can be found. I can’t imagine anyone finds palatable the alternative of more people living rough on Kelowna’s streets in winter,” said Schulz. “Between managing the shelter short-staffed, trying to locate new space and facilitating those moving to modular housing, we are stretched pretty thin and could really use some help.”

Schultz also said “we are hugely grateful for any help, but ask that those emailing nasty comments about what we can do with the Kelowna citizens we shelter to please desist. The people we shelter could be your neighbours or they could be you, as the line between having a home or being without is thin and anyone can find themselves on the other side of it.”

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