A home away from home for Interior families traveling to Kelowna for advanced medical care is hoped to be open by October 2019.
“The community in Kelowna has been very supportive and very generous early on,” says Kelowna General Hospital Foundation Senior Development Officer, Mischa Mueller of JoeAnna’s House.
“We’re hoping that the other communities, the residents of those communities who JoeAnna’s House will be for will see this as a cause that they will want to support. We’ve heard nothing but positives so far and we’re really thrilled.”
$4.5 million has been raised so far to build JoeAnna’s House which will be located on the corner of Royal Ave. and Abbott St. on the KGH site and for a cost of approximately $20 a night will house up to 20 families.
One out of every four beds at Kelowna General Hospital is occupied by a patient from outside the Central Okanagan.
Annual Programs Officer, Chandel Schmidt says there is an average of 144 people from the Williams Lake area that come to the Kelowna General Hospital every year for care with the average length of stay being 6 days.
“Finding accommodation for these families can be very challenging,” says Gail Harrison, Past President and Grant Coordinator of Cops for Kids Charitable Foundation.
“Hotel vacancies in Kelowna are at an all-time low, and often the financial burden without our assistance is simply too overwhelming.”
Construction for JoeAnna’s House which has an $8 million dollar price tag is expected to begin in October 2018.
“This isn’t something that the province or Interior Health could take on,” explains Schmidt.
“That’s why we’re reaching out to the communities for support because it will be truly community support that brings this together and makes it possible.”
The House is named after Josef and Anna Huber who settled their family in the Okanagan in the 1960’s.