Kelowna – Ellis Street Supportive Housing

BC Housing, the City of Kelowna and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna are working together to provide urgently needed homes with supports for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna at 1055/1063 Ellis Street. This City-owned property is being leased to BC Housing for 10 years to build 38 modular units of housing, which will be operated by CMHA Kelowna. The housing will be available to people over the age of 19 currently living in the community who have a history of or are at risk of homelessness and who need additional support services to maintain housing.

Recognizing our most vulnerable citizens face significant risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province is expediting the plan to start construction at this site to ensure people in need have access to safe and secure housing. The current lease is for 10 years, and the property will go through the municipal rezoning process if the lease is extended beyond that.

Site preparation work will start in June, with construction completed in fall 2020.

Housing with Support

Supportive housing is a self-contained studio home with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. Supports could include outreach workers, wellness checks, life skills training, employment assistance, connection and referral to community services and support groups. BC Housing and the housing operator will collaborate with local service providers on a thoughtful and thorough assessment process to ensure an appropriate mix of residents with the right supports live in the housing. Priority will be given to our vulnerable citizens who live in the Kelowna area. All residents would sign a program agreement and would pay rent.

BC Housing

BC Housing supports the city in its commitment to the Journey Home Strategy, focusing on ending chronic and episodic homelessness, introducing measures to prevent homelessness in the first place and implementing a co-ordinated systems approach to homelessness. We work in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors, provincial health authorities and ministries, other levels of government and community groups to develop a range of housing options. For Ellis Street, BC Housing will lead the design and construction of the housing, lead resident selection and provide operational funding to CMHA Kelowna.

City of Kelowna

Homelessness is an evolving, dynamic crisis in our community and these kinds of partnerships go a long way towards creating solutions. This strategic purchase will not only create much needed solutions in the short-term but also has long-term potential with a future land use designation for multi-story residential housing. The City of Kelowna purchased the 0.35 acres combined parcels in March for $1.8M as part of its proactive land acquisition strategy to secure key properties and leverage existing municipal land to further advance a broad range of community priorities. This strategic purchase will not only create much needed solutions in the short-term but also has long-term potential with a future land use designation for multi-story residential housing. This is a long-term land investment and in addition to being close to downtown, this property is ideally located adjacent to existing municipal park space with the potential to be used for many different civic objectives after expiry of the lease.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna

CMHA Kelowna, an experienced local service provider, will operate the housing. Staff will be on-site 24/7 to facilitate connections to community health and support services, including life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work.

Community Advisory Committee

CMHA Kelowna will be developing a Community Advisory Committee that will include representation from BC Housing, Interior Health, the City of Kelowna, RCMP, community organizations and community members at large.Please email communityrelations@bchousing.org if you would like to express interest in learning more about this committee.

The Community Advisory Committee will:

  • Build and maintain positive relationships amongst the community, the building operators and the program partners;
  • Facilitate information sharing and dialogue;
  • Identify and resolve any issues, opportunities and concerns related to building operations.


BC Housing, the City of Kelowna and Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna are working together to provide urgently needed homes with supports for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna at 1055/1063 Ellis Street. This City-owned property is being leased to BC Housing for 10 years to build 38 modular units of housing, which will be operated by CMHA Kelowna. The housing will be available to people over the age of 19 currently living in the community who have a history of or are at risk of homelessness and who need additional support services to maintain housing.

Recognizing our most vulnerable citizens face significant risk during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Province is expediting the plan to start construction at this site to ensure people in need have access to safe and secure housing. The current lease is for 10 years, and the property will go through the municipal rezoning process if the lease is extended beyond that.

Site preparation work will start in June, with construction completed in fall 2020.

Housing with Support

Supportive housing is a self-contained studio home with supports provided on-site, to ensure people can achieve and maintain housing stability. Supports could include outreach workers, wellness checks, life skills training, employment assistance, connection and referral to community services and support groups. BC Housing and the housing operator will collaborate with local service providers on a thoughtful and thorough assessment process to ensure an appropriate mix of residents with the right supports live in the housing. Priority will be given to our vulnerable citizens who live in the Kelowna area. All residents would sign a program agreement and would pay rent.

BC Housing

BC Housing supports the city in its commitment to the Journey Home Strategy, focusing on ending chronic and episodic homelessness, introducing measures to prevent homelessness in the first place and implementing a co-ordinated systems approach to homelessness. We work in partnership with the private and non-profit sectors, provincial health authorities and ministries, other levels of government and community groups to develop a range of housing options. For Ellis Street, BC Housing will lead the design and construction of the housing, lead resident selection and provide operational funding to CMHA Kelowna.

City of Kelowna

Homelessness is an evolving, dynamic crisis in our community and these kinds of partnerships go a long way towards creating solutions. This strategic purchase will not only create much needed solutions in the short-term but also has long-term potential with a future land use designation for multi-story residential housing. The City of Kelowna purchased the 0.35 acres combined parcels in March for $1.8M as part of its proactive land acquisition strategy to secure key properties and leverage existing municipal land to further advance a broad range of community priorities. This strategic purchase will not only create much needed solutions in the short-term but also has long-term potential with a future land use designation for multi-story residential housing. This is a long-term land investment and in addition to being close to downtown, this property is ideally located adjacent to existing municipal park space with the potential to be used for many different civic objectives after expiry of the lease.

Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna

CMHA Kelowna, an experienced local service provider, will operate the housing. Staff will be on-site 24/7 to facilitate connections to community health and support services, including life and employment skills training, health and wellness support services and opportunities for volunteer work.

Community Advisory Committee

CMHA Kelowna will be developing a Community Advisory Committee that will include representation from BC Housing, Interior Health, the City of Kelowna, RCMP, community organizations and community members at large.Please email communityrelations@bchousing.org if you would like to express interest in learning more about this committee.

The Community Advisory Committee will:

  • Build and maintain positive relationships amongst the community, the building operators and the program partners;
  • Facilitate information sharing and dialogue;
  • Identify and resolve any issues, opportunities and concerns related to building operations.


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  • Having lived along Sunset Drive for a few months now, I’ve had my windshield smashed (along with 12 others on the street, costing me a $300 deductible to fix), watched a vehicle be stolen in the middle of the night with the alarm going off as the thieves drove away and have seen countless “out of city” license plates with smashed windows where “druggies” have gone through glove boxes and trunks to grab anything they think they can sell. These vandalism and thefts have the tax-payer paying the deductibles to fix the damages plus the cost of extra security personal, cameras, etc (through increased strata fees). If you're bringing in this "Wet Homeless Housing" with zero rezoning or public input, then I request the BC Housing provide a Cash Relief Fund to assist the Owners and Strata Corporations with these damages and extra security costs that they will incur.

    Brenda S asked about 1 month ago

    There is a tendency for the general public to associate crime with people experiencing homelessness. There are two sides to maintaining a sense of public safety in areas where people experiencing homelessness congregate, it’s a balance between connecting people with social supports and enforcing the law when criminal activity happens. The City and law enforcement works on crime reduction but safety is a shared responsibility. If you have current concerns about safety, please visit this link to learn about how to direct your inquiries: https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/safety-emergency-services/safety-who-call


    BC Housing’s supportive housing buildings are operated based on the widely recognized and proven Housing First model. People are first provided safe and stable housing so that they may then have opportunity to address other personal challenges. Residents at these sites, and all other supportive housing buildings that BC Housing is affiliated with, will be supported by staff in the decisions they make about their health and lifestyle. This includes taking a harm reduction approach, which means staff is available to support any residents who are in various phases of substance use and the building will be set up with the ability to provide a safe consumption space for residents only, to ensure the safety of residents who are active substance users. When residents are ready to make a change, staff on site will connect them with the appropriate support services. BC Housing’s goal is to provide programs and services for residents that seek to break the cycle of homelessness.


    BC Housing and our partners work together to ensure the needs of a resident are well matched to the types of support services provided. Supportive housing offers a variety of potential support services, and staff are well-trained to provide the right support to residents based on their individually assessed needs. Residents will have access to counselling, as well as health, mental health, and addiction recovery services through Interior Health.


    Research has shown that supportive housing results in improvements for residents, including increased housing stability, improved quality of life, improved health, positive community relations, and reduced use of emergency health services: https://www.bchousing.org/publications/Supportive-Housing-Resident-Outcomes-Summary-Report.pdf



  • Due to this facility opening will the temporary camp that has been opened on recreation ave be decommissioned? When this camp opened the members of this neighborhood were not given any notice, voice, or reassurance as to the effects it would have on the people living in this community - since opening, we have now seen an increase in crime in the neighborhood. Many members of the community are concerned with the new building going up and the lack of conversation surrounding it (aside from this platform) - it is leaving people with a sense of unease and fear that this additional housing will not help, but will make the problem worse.

    Keeley asked about 1 month ago

    There is a tendency for the general public to associate crime with people experiencing homelessness. There are two sides to maintaining a sense of public safety in areas where people experiencing homelessness congregate, it’s a balance between connecting people with social supports and enforcing the law when criminal activity happens. The City and law enforcement works on crime reduction but safety is a shared responsibility. If you have current concerns about safety, please visit this link to learn about how to direct your inquiries: https://www.kelowna.ca/city-services/safety-emergency-services/safety-who-call


     The City of Kelowna has confirmed that the Recreation Avenue temporary overnight sheltering site will close this fall. Outreach workers have been attending the camp regularly and will continue to do so, assessing the individual needs of the campers and support services they require. Individuals from Recreation Avenue and others in the community experiencing homelessness will move into various supportive housing locations or shelter spaces across Kelowna as units and spaces become available. We do our best to ensure there is a mix of residents in a supportive housing building, some who are able to function relatively independently and some who require higher supports. We are intentional about the mix of residents so staff are better able to meet the needs of all residents and ensure appropriate management of the building.

     The plan for Ellis Street is not a facility, but 38 new homes with supports provided on-site, for people currently staying in shelters and outdoors to move into stable and secure housing. Supportive housing offers a variety of potential support services, and staff are well-trained to provide the right support to residents based on their individually assessed needs. Residents will have access to counselling, as well as health, mental health, and addiction recovery services through Interior Health.

  • Good Evening, just curious if this facility is designed/aimed to be 'wet' or 'dry'?

    Kelly Hutchinson asked about 1 month ago

    Ellis Street will provide 38 homes for people with low-incomes over the age of 19 who live in the community, have a history of homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and who need additional support services to maintain housing. This housing will not be a facility or a shelter, it is housing with supports. Residents will make this their home, pay rent and be provided support to assist with their successful tenancy. Like residents across the City in market housing, people will make their own choices in regards to lifestyle, and this includes the decision to abstain or use drugs/alcohol in the privacy of their home. BC Housing’s supportive housing buildings are operated based on the widely recognized and proven Housing First model. If they choose to use, CMHA Kelowna will work with each resident to ensure that they use safely. We take a harm reduction approach, which means staff is available to support any residents who are in various phases of substance use and the building will be set up with the ability to provide a safe consumption space for residents only, to ensure the safety of residents who are active substance users. When residents are ready to make a change, staff on site will connect them with the appropriate support services.

  • Why are there not more low income housing for us that are on a disability that have to pay full rents.

    cher asked about 1 month ago

    Ellis Street will be supportive housing, because there is an urgent need for housing for supports for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna. The current pandemic has made it even more clear that Kelowna is in urgent need of more homes with supports for people experiencing homelessness. These 38 homes represent a chance for 38 people to move from living outside or in shelters into stable and secure housing.  

    More housing is needed, and BC Housing will continue to work with the City of Kelowna and local partners to develop a range of housing options. For example, BC Housing currently has 136 new supportive housing units in development or under construction (including Ellis Street), and 141 new affordable rental housing units for families, seniors and people with disabilities in development of under construction, in Kelowna. 

    For information about what housing you may eligible for, please visit https://programfinder.bchousing.org/

  • We are at Waterscapes beside your proposed location and already have a local homeless population. In light of the recent substantial increase in vandalism in our complex we have had to add security personal, cameras etc etc. How can you even consider this?

    donrducati asked about 2 months ago

    When people have homes, they are no longer homeless. The current pandemic has made it even more clear that Kelowna is in urgent need of more homes with supports for people experiencing homelessness. These 38 homes represent a chance for 38 people to move from living outside or in shelters into stable and secure housing.  It is important to note that this building is not a shelter, it is housing with supports. Residents will be individuals with low-incomes over the age of 19 who live in the community, have a history of homelessness or are at risk of homelessness and who need additional support services to maintain housing.  All residents will pay rent and they will be provided support to assist with their successful tenancy. 

    Supportive housing is also less costly for taxpayers than doing nothing. 

    • On average, a person experiencing homelessness with addictions and/or mental illness used $55,000 per year in health care and/or corrections services, compared to $37,000 for a person in supportive housing.
    • A 2019 B.C. study showed that supportive housing residents, when compared to emergency shelter clients, were 64% less likely than emergency shelter clients to use ambulance services and experienced 50% shorter hospital stays.

    Additionally, 2018 studies in B.C. showed that every dollar invested in supportive housing creates four to five dollars in social and/or economic value. Government realizes about half of the savings due to decreased use of services, while neighbourhoods benefit from improved well-being and increased local spending Learn more: www.bchousing.org/research-centre/library/community-acceptance/community-benefits-supportive-housing

    There are two sides to maintaining a sense of public safety in areas where people experiencing homelessness congregate, it’s a balance between connecting people with social supports and enforcing the law when criminal activity happens, regardless of where or by whom. The City and law enforcement works on crime reduction but safety is a shared responsibility and coordinating measures for protecting private property is a great step for stratas to take.

    The safety of residents, staff and the surrounding community will be a priority. This will be a purpose-built property and the following security measures will be in place:

    • Single point of entry where all guests will need to provide ID and be buzzed in by reception;
    • The building will be staffed with two or more employees 24/7;
    • Standard security measures such as well-lit and fenced grounds, extensive camera monitoring, and a controlled entrance; 
    • There will be a Community Advisory Committee, which includes representation from the City of Kelowna, Interior Health, BC Housing, the community, and police to address concerns;
    • If concerns or problems occur with specific individuals on the project property, the operator will work with the individual and police on solutions.