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Welcome home: 60 transitional housing units open in Kelowna

The tiny homes are located at STEP Place at 759 Crowley Avenue
Kelowna city council members and Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing at STEP Place. (Jacqueline Gelineau/ Capital News)

Sixty new indoor spaces opened in Kelowna for those experiencing homelessness in the city.

Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing alongside city officials and a representative from the John Howard Society officially opened STEP Place at 759 Crowley Avenue on Friday, (Feb. 16).

STEP is an acronym for Supported Transitional housing with Embedded Programming, to represent a step between shelter and permanent housing.

People will begin to move into the individual housing units by the end of the month.

The housing strategy is intended to be a “step on the path forward,” to permanent housing, not a long-term solution, said Patricia Bacon, executive director of the John Howard Society of Okanagan and Kootenay, which is the organization that will be managing the site.

The 60 units are part of the Homeless Encampment Action Response Temporary Housing (HEARTH) program, which is one of the initiatives being implemented under the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Province and the City of Kelowna.


People will be moving into the tiny house village by the end of February. For more information on STEP village and the resources that will be available visit

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Each unit is outfitted with storage shelving, a bed, a dresser, a mini-fridge, a desk, a chair, and a heating/cooling unit. The site includes indoor multi-use common spaces, bathrooms, a community kitchen, and an overdose prevention site.

The people moving into STEP Place will be those who are currently living in shelters who are ready to take the next step to more independent housing, said Bacon.

Some people currently experiencing unsheltered homelessness in Kelowna have voiced their concerns about the transition from living on the street to living in shelter spaces before being eligible to move into STEP Place.

Kahlon explained that while this intermediary step may be challenging for some, it is necessary to ensure people’s diverse needs are met.

“It is vitally important that people come to shelters for assessments,” said Kahlon.

Individuals moving into the units will be assessed and matched with appropriate supports and will have access to skills training to help them on their journey to independent living, said Bacon.

The 60 homes in the STEP community will free up spaces in shelters that are currently at or near capacity, said Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas.

The goal is that people experiencing unsheltered homelessness will be able to move from the streets into the available shelter spaces. Then, people will be matched with resources and support before transitioning into a more independent living situation, like STEP Place.

STEP Place will be managed by the John Howard Society, a non-profit housing provider. The society will provide services including twice-daily meals, 24/7 staffing, security, access to skills training, mental health support, and assistance to move on and into more permanent and long-term housing.

Interior Health will also deliver a range of health services to individuals in housing and existing shelters through the establishment of a new Integrated Health Outreach Team known as IHOT. The team’s services will include primary care, medication support, clinical referrals, and connections to other healthcare services, such as substance use, overdose prevention, and mental health treatment.

Susan Brown, Interior Health president and CEO said that an Indigenous patient navigator will work with residents to ensure that the space is culturally safe care for all.

A second 60-unit housing project, Trailside Transitional Housing, at 2740 Highway 97 North, is expected to be completed in April 2024.

The province has nearly 78,000 diverse supportive housing units throughout the province, including more than 1,700 homes in Kelowna.

To learn more visit

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