Im very happy to be here, said Robert Sedore, one of 54 residents slated to move in next week. This is going to be a good home for me.
It came together in record time, she said. I dont think there was another project in all of B.C. that happened so fast.
Osborne House will be managed by the ASK Wellness Society, whose executive director, Bob Hughes, teared up while talking about the void in the community the project will fill.
This is one of the most ambitious projects this organization has ever been involved with, he said.
"I just had a really rough life with drugs and my family and growing up," he says. "I've gone through a lot in my time and I'm happy to be here. This is a good home; it's going to be a good home for me, until we figure out where I'm going to go from here."
Six weeks ago, this piece of land was just that — there was no power, no water. … This was something that I didnt think could have possibly been done.
People literally changed the course of their fall work to do this. This is all because winter was coming and people had nowhere to go.
Osborne House is named for Donnie Osborne, a longtime Kamloops resident who lived in supportive housing prior to his death in 2016. It was built in partnership with Horizon North and is made up of repurposed work camp trailers.
While she'll be the onsite nurse, Hughes says the plan is to get a couple of physicians to come to the residence on a regular basis, so the people living there don't have to go to the emergency room at Royal Inland Hospital.
Residents will pay $375 monthly for rent, which includes three meals a day prepared on-site. The building includes common areas for socialization, a health centre and a laundry room.
Rooms were offered based on the results of vulnerability assessments conducted by local community agencies, including ASK Wellness.
When it was announced, the Mission Flats project was described as temporary. But, according to site co-ordinator Michele Claudepierre, that may not be the case.
Its three years for sure, kind of while that more permanent modular stuff is being built, then with a possibility of a fourth year or a fifth year, she said.
But who knows? Maybe this could stay forever and this could be almost a landing spot for people to get into something a little more permanent.
The location of Osborne House is not without its challenges. Claudepierre said the projects distance from downtown and the Tranquille corridor could cut both ways for residents.
Its good to get people out of that downtown core and North Shore, but transportation is going to be an issue, she said.
The beds are being made, kitchen gear is being unwrapped and the final safety measures are being put in place on 55 units of temporary housing on Mission Flats Road.
Mission Flats Road was not constructed with pedestrian traffic in mind, though city crews were out on Thursday painting crosswalks on area roads, apparently in anticipation of Osborne Houses opening.
ASK plans to operate a shuttle service to and from the site and Claudepierre said residents will never be left stranded elsewhere in the city.
Osborne House is one of three supportive housing projects in the works. Another is under construction on Tranquille Road and the third is slated to rise on West Victoria Street.
Each resident has their own door, a lock to their room and, when they go to bed at night, they dont have to worry about someone stealing their stuff or beating them up, she said.
Head chef Louis Desbiaux, who used to work in work camps similar to Osborne House, says he and his small team are nearly ready for Tuesday.
KAMLOOPS — Rob Sedore has found his new permanent home at Osborne House. He has his own space, his own bed, and renewed hope for his life.
“I feel really honoured and feel Im here for a reason. Im not here just because Im in a homeless situation, but Im here for help,” said Sedore.
Sedore is the first tenant to move into the new transitional housing units on Mission Flats Road. Hes been living at Bridgeway Manor on Columbia Street since May, but he spent 15 years on the streets prior.
Adopted at birth, Sedore got into drugs. Hes been clean, however, since February. He would like to help out other tenants who may be struggling with similar issues.
“Im here to help others because of the example that Im setting for people by staying straight, by being clean, by taking control of my life and taking the help that ASK Wellness has provided.”
ASK Wellness is the operator of Osborne House, named after the late Donnie Osborne, a homeless man in Kamloops who recently passed away.
Bob Hughes from ASK says the project, which was finished in the span of eight weeks, is a testament to the will to get it done.
“If youve got the will, the asset, which is the land, youve got the resources from the province, the skys the limit,” said Hughes. “When people scratch their head and go oh well, we cant do that, this is an example of what can be done when you have a vision to get people off the streets into housing.”
According to the last national homeless count, there are 201 people without a home in Kamloops. This 55-unit building has everything the tenants will need, their own room, a recreational room, and a kitchen that will produce three meals a day for residents.
“We will facilitate primary care, we will facilitate help for mental health issues. If they have a chronic condition, well figure out how to get them the proper access.”
Its a perfect situation for Sedore, who was recently diagnosed with H. pylori, which can led to infections in the stomach. But beyond his health, he hopes he can make a difference in someone elses life and one day work for ASK Wellness.
“If people can see me do well, from doing really terrible, then they can have a little bit of hope and say that could be me thats changing,” noted Sedore.
The rest of the tenants will move into Osborne House on Tuesday. The building will serve as shelter for some of the homeless for at least the next three years.