British Columbia

'It's a big step up': 42-unit supportive housing facility opens to help Kamloops homeless

A new supportive housing building is open in Kamloops, providing safe, warm homes with around-the-clock care and supports to help people experiencing homelessness in the community.

Support staff can provide tenants with meals, wellness support and skills training

Representatives from BC Housing, Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops, Interior Health and Horizon North, the B.C.-based manufacturer who built the facility pose for a photo outside Rosethorn House, which will provide self-contained studio units for people in need. (Courtney Dickson/CBC News)

Daniel Hall says he plans to be the first one in the building when a new housing facility opens in Kamloops, B.C. Wednesday morning.

Hall, who previously had no place to call his own, now has a unit in Rosethorn House, a $10.2 million provincially-funded supportive housing project for adults in the community who are experiencing homelessness.

Located at at 259 Victoria Street West, the building will have 42 self-contained studio homes, and be operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association Kamloops (CMHA Kamloops). The association will provide residents with around-the-clock support services that include meal programs, life and employment skills training, health and wellness supports and opportunities for volunteer work.

"We get our own personal units and it's a big step up," said Hall excitedly. "Nine a.m., I'm the first one in the building."

Rosethorn House resident Daniel Hall shows off his new suite prior to moving in and says he will be the first one in the doors when they open Wednesday morning. (Courtney Dickson/CBC News)

Hall's last home was at The Branch, Kamloops' temporary bridge housing building for homeless members of the community, where he lived for 14 months.  All 36 residents from The Branch are being relocated to Rosethorn House.

Alfred Achoba, operations leader for CMHA Kamloops, said the remaining six units are all wheelchair accessible and a team made up of local support agencies will meet to determine who will occupy those.

"[Rosethorn] is suited to meet any types of needs," said Achoba. "People can be fairly independent and still try here, or they can need a little bit more support and that's what the tenant support staff are here for and that's what CMHA is here for."

Each unit in the four-storey modular apartment building includes a private washroom and mini kitchen. The building also includes a commercial kitchen, dining and lounge areas, storage and amenity space, and laundry and medical examination rooms. (Courtney Dickson/CBC)

With the opening of this building, the province says there are now 155 supportive homes in Kamloops.

"This development is a welcome addition to the housing continuum in Kamloops, as we continue to look for opportunities to address housing affordability and homelessness,' said Mayor Ken Christian in a statement.

The most recent statistics on the number of homeless people in Kamloops on the city's website are from March 2018. There were 201 homeless individuals counted in a 24-hour period at that time.

 

 

With files from Courtney Dickson, Daybreak Kamloops

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