Karis Support Society is a non-profit organization that provides recovery-focused programming, counselling and support to vulnerable, at-risk expectant women, women with babies or toddlers, women working towards reunification with their children and single women with no dependents, living in poverty, homelessness or at-risk of homelessness.
Karis participants are women whose negative experiences have led to substance misuse or mental health challenges, which have negatively impacted their lives and they are now actively working on personal recovery.
Karis Support Society contributes to genuine social transformation in the Okanagan Valley by providing a safe home, support through recovery and life skills development for people struggling with life altering additions and mental health conditions. Karis exists within the continuum of charitable organizations that provide social services for vulnerable individuals living in our community and we are committed to providing a safe and trustworthy environment where strength can develop.
Recognizing Potential, Supporting Recovery and Restoring Lives.
In December 2006 a group of friends and family identified two significant gaps in Kelowna’s continuum of social services; affordable housing for individuals living in or near poverty and program based support for women seeking recovery from addictions. Although temporary shelters were available, there was no long-term, sustainable programming designed to empower women to transition from a life of addiction to a life in recovery.
Karis Support Society was formed from a heartfelt desire to respond to these significant needs. In 2008 Karis opened BERNARD HOUSE, an 8 bed recovery home for women over 35 years of age, who had made several unsuccessful attempts at recovery. A caring team of support workers offered daily recovery and life skill programming, in a safe home where women could recover from addictions and restore their self-esteem. Secure housing, caring support and good programming empowered the women of Bernard House to grow strong physically, mentally and relationally.
During those early years Karis partnered with AIMHSS (Adult Integrated Mental Health Support Society) to provide financial support for a two-year residential program for 6 women struggling to overcome the effects of mental illness and addiction.
In January of 2008 Karis opened ESTHER PLACE RECOVERY CENTRE to provide a one-year residential program for 6 women in recovery. During that same year the community approached Karis with a request to help single moms struggling to find affordable housing after recovering from addictions or fleeing abusive relationships. These moms were caring for their children but needed help developing healthy parenting skills.
In March of 2008 SUTHERLAND HOUSE was opened, providing housing, support and programming for up to two years for 5 determined mothers and their children. TOMAT HOUSE was also added to the society in 2008 with the goal of supporting men who had mental and physical health conditions.
During those years, Karis responded to the community need by establishing 8 different homes for individuals struggling with life altering addictions and mental health conditions. As a direct result of the benevolence of this small group of friends and family, over 300 women and their families found safe housing, caring support through recovery and life skill development in those first eight years. The statistics are impressive, but the stories of lives changed are inspiring.
By 2015 Karis had established over 14 homes which provided secure housing, support and high quality programming to women in need of long-term recovery. At this time Karis was unable to keep up with community need and in September 2015, with the support of the community, Karis moved into a 3-storey building that serves up to 37 women with capacity for up to 12 babies and toddlers.
In September of 2015, Karis opened a new 24,000 square feet home. This three floor LEED certified building is a beautifully designed modern facility equipped with 37 beds.
The building is further enhanced by full storey glass windows, natural lighting, a third floor patio and a ground level landscaped garden, which is available to residents enrolled in Karis Support Society’s addiction recovery program for women.
Karis is situated close to downtown Kelowna, parks, pedestrian walkways and resource services. The Karis facility offers the following residential options for those enrolled in the program:
- 12 single bedrooms with ensuite for single women
- 6 single bedrooms with ensuite for women with babies
- 8 two bedroom semi-independent third floor suites
- 2 single bedroom semi-independent third floor suites
- 1 three bedroom townhouse for women with children