Long-awaited housing for people with complex care needs is coming to Kelowna.
The city, Interior Health and Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions issued a join news release Wednesday morning announcing the approval of housing and supports for those living with complex care needs across the Central Okanagan.
The specialized housing has been a top priority for council throughout its soon-to-be concluded four-year term.
"This is a significant step in the right direction and, on behalf of council, we celebrate today's news that our most vulnerable residents, who are potentially a harm to themselves or the public, will gain access to an increased level of care and housing," said Mayor Colin Basran.
Basran has been an outspoken advocate for complex care housing to deal with individuals suffering from mental health issues complicated by addictions living on the streets.
Most are not able to transition into traditional forms of housing.
"This announcement is a milestone for community health and safety in Kelowna, as we continue to see impacts related to mental health and problematic substance use," added Basran.
"This model provides a health-centred approach to support those most vulnerable in our community, who will no longer need to shelter outside or rely as heavily on crisis and emergency services."
Multiple sites in the community will deliver complex care housing for up to 20 people.
Housing and health care supports will be provided by Interior Health professional staff and contracted service providers.
“There are residents in Kelowna who are left to shelter outside, on the street because there’s no other place for them to go,” said Stephanie Gauthier, executive director of the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society.
“We have a grave need for more housing locally, and a backlog of need for supportive housing, particularly for those with the most complex needs.
Interior Health will work with the city to confirm locations and service providers.