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Katherine's Place set to rise in Kamloops

The 39-unit complex will be built on two vacant lots in North Kamloops and feature 39 units for homeless youth and young adults ages 19 to 26.

Katherine’s Place will be home to homeless youth and young adults in Kamloops ages 19 to 26.

The 39-unit complex will be built on two vacant lots in North Kamloops — at 560 and 562 Tranquille Rd., across from Our Lady of Perpetual Help school and between existing commercial buildings.

The provincial government is partnering with A Way Home Kamloops and a local developer on the project, which only needs its development permit application to be approved by the City of Kamloops as the property is already zoned for its intended use.

The building will be named Katherine’s Place after the late Katherine McParland, the former executive director of A Way Home Kamloops who died suddenly on Dec. 4, 2020, at the age of 32.

McParland overcame challenges to complete a masters of social work and achieved much for her age, including starting the non-profit A Way Home Kamloops agency, co-founding the BC Coalition to End Youth Homelessness, sitting on a federal advisory committee dealing with youth homelessness and advocating for systemic change to improve conditions for youth in foster care.

McParland herself spent much of her teenage years in foster homes and, once she aged out of the system at 19, was homeless in Kamloops for a period of time.

Katherine McParland
A Way Home Kamloops founder Katherine McParland died suddenly on Dec. 4, 2020. - KTW

The project would be an acknowledgment of her life-changing impact on local youth and would continue her legacy by providing services to young people who are at risk or experiencing homelessness.

“Katherine McParland had a dream that we would one day provide a home to many young people in a place where they would feel supported and loved, where all of the wraparound supports they require would be available,” said Tangie Genshorek, executive director of A Way Home Kamloops. “We are excited to be able to make that dream a reality at Katherine’s Place.”

A Way Home Kamloops will operate the building. It would include staff on site around the clock and provide residents with meals, counselling, life skills training and employment and education support. A Way Home Kamloops will also support residents to access community health services.

The building will also include commercial space, which would be used by A Way Home Kamloops for its offices.

Once the development and building permit applications are approved by the city, BC Housing will provide an update to the community with the estimated project costs and proposed construction timelines.

BC Housing will host a virtual neighbourhood information session and invite neighbours and members of the community to learn more, ask questions and provide feedback.

More details will be shared here.

“Acknowledging Katherine’s commitment to addressing youth homelessness by naming these homes after her is the least we could do to honour her memory,” Finance Minister Selina Robinson said.

“Katherine knew how to bring people together as she pulled Shane Simpson, the former minister of social development, Katrine Conroy, the former minister of children and family development and myself, as the former minister of housing, and pitched how these three ministries could make a difference in the lives of youth. Katherine had a dream and she pulled us all into that dream with her. I wish she were here to see this. She would be so pleased.”

Cassie Doyle, board chair of BC Housing, said McParland had significant influence on raising awareness on youth housing needs.

“These new homes are just part of her amazing legacy to end youth homelessness in B.C.” Doyle said.

Missagh Manshadi, owner, Manshadi Pharmacy, met McParland in 2015, when A Way Home Kamloops was getting started.

“She was also working toward developing a youth homelessness action plan. I found Katherine humble, kind and genuine, and we met numerous times to discuss how to fulfil her dream of providing youth and children at risk a safe place to live,” Manshadi said. “I’m passionate about standing beside youth in their journey in life and would like to be a part of the solution. The dream is reality now, thanks to Katherine’s hard work. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.”

Click here for more information about A Way Home Kamloops.