Homes First

Open House for Kelowna’s First Winter Emergency Shelter

A public educational session about supporting people experiencing homelessness

The government is commiting, the local agencies and non-profits are on board, but projects like this need support from the community too – that’s you neighbour. The Welcome Inn emergency winter shelter aims to open at some point in January at the Metro Community Church on Ellis Street with 20 beds available 24/7. While people have already signed up to volunteer, the shelter is looking for more volunteers and staff. Overworked volunteers may burn out, so if you’re thinking about helping out, just come on down and find out more. “The quality of that first line staff to be able to manage the volunteers and to give them guidance and have some confidence around it, that’s critical to make it safe for volunteers and residents,” Jason Siebenga, chairman of Metro Community Church says.

In addition to volunteers, the shelter is looking for people with social work and health care experience who have some experience working with the homeless and people with drug issues.

On December 30th, Welcome Inn is holding an open house where light refreshments will be served from 12pm – 1pm followed by an educational session on supporting people experiencing homelessness that runs until 3pm. It will be a practical presentation to help provide a better understanding how to better interact with vulnerable people in the community.

Following the opening, the goal is to expand the shelter to 40 beds once enough trained staff and volunteers are available. People staying in the shelter will have access to daily meals, storage for their belongings, washrooms and a common room.

Funded by B.C. Housing, the shelter will operate through to the end of March.