Welcome to Inn from the Cold – Kelowna
Thank-you to our Government Sponsors:
Thank-You to our Community Sponsors:
In 1999-2000, the efforts of three key people coalesced to bring about the Inn from the Cold in Kelowna. These gentlemen, along with a core group of remarkable, tireless supporters from various churches, felt compelled to do something concrete about the situation of people who bore the hardships of life outdoors in the Okanagan winter. Although there were different variations on the name, the criteria for admitting guests and the organization of volunteers and coordinators, constant features were
· a cadre of volunteers with an high level of involvement, drawn mostly from local churches
· bus transportation to and from the church hall,· provision of intake services, evening snack or meal, overnight supervision and breakfast,
· express commitment to compassion and respect for people caught in the throes of homelessness.
After five years, the original founders gradually shifted to other involvements, leaving a core group of new and long-time volunteers to carry on. In September, 2006, under the direction of five women who carried on the ecumenical and compassionate philosophy of the group, Inn from the Cold-Kelowna became a society under the Societies Act of B.C. It received its first grant funding from the Central Okanagan Foundation in October of that year. In fall 2007, further support came from an anonymous benefactor who provided resources to hire staff so the new society could be more secure in carrying on its work for the growing number of people living on the streets of Kelowna.
In February, 2008, Inn from the Cold-Kelowna designed two pilot projects: an indoor intake and reception program at the Columbus Centre, within walking distance of the downtown core, and an innovative Inn-Home Support program where persons recently housed or at risk of homelessness could connect with personal advocates who could access Outreach Agencies for professional assistance in case of need.
In February, 2008, Inn From the Cold-Kelowna became a registered charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, and in May, 2008, Inn from the Cold-Kelowna extended the lease period of the top floor reception area of the Columbus Centre. With principal financial support from BC Housing, businesses, tradespeople and volunteers renovated the space to include showers, adequate washrooms and a kitchen. The shelter opened at the new site on November 15, 2008.
In 2011 our professional Outreach Program was born out of the need to further support persons experiencing homelessness while on the streets, in our shelter and once they obtain housing. As we move forward this program is evolving to follow an Intensive Case Management model to support the most vulnerable and entrenched people experiencing homelessness in our community.
In line with our renewed vision of inclusion, safety and respect for the most vulnerable of Kelowna’s citizens and in keeping with our volunteer roots, in 2013 Inn from the Cold adopted the volunteer run Kelowna Kodiaks Street Soccer program.
As we move into the future, have lofty goals, including provision of housing for the hardest to house as well as social enterprise to create sustainability. We are proud to be a grass roots, community driven initiative that works within a network of community supports to address the issues of homelessness and isolation in Kelowna. Contact us to find out how you can get involved today!