On October 21, 2019, JoeAnna’s House opened its doors in Kelowna. The house offers affordable short-term accommodation in Kelowna for families wanting to maintain a presence at Kelowna General Hospital, whether that be to support families members staying there, or if they are facing a medical hardship themselves.
Similar to the concept of the Ronald McDonald house, it is named after the founders of the Prestige Hotels and Resorts, who have helped to fund the construction of the project. In Golden, the Prestige Inn has lead the way with fundraising to help support the house.
“Their family provided the seed money to start the build,” said Treena Coney, the general manager at the Prestige Inn in Golden. “Locally, we’ve done everything from barbecues to silent auctions, and last year we did a collection where you could add $5 to your bill to go towards the house. We raised over $2500 locally from the liquor store alone in just over a couple of months.”
While it may be located in Kelowna, those who are benefitting from the house will not be those living there. It will be the residents from small communities such as Golden, or Radium, or any other town in the area, who may need to travel long distances in order to receive the medical care that they need.
The house provides these people a place to stay for an affordable price, as hotel bills can rack up a hefty price tag that can make dealing with a medical emergency even more stressful than it needs to be.
“Over 25 per cent of people who stay at Kelowna General Hospital are from outside of Kelowna,” said Coney. “It’s not the people of Kelowna who will be using it.”
In fact, a Golden resident is already benefitting from the accommodations at JoeAnna’s House.
“We just recently had someone who had no other options than staying in their vehicle while their baby was in the hospital,” said Coney. “It’s important for all of our communities to step up and support it.”
According to Coney, the experience in JoeAnna’s House has been incredibly positive for the individual in question.
“She was texting people and emailing people to say how beautiful it was,” said Coney. “It’s been a great experience for them.”
The Prestige Inn will continue to support the house into the New Year, with different promotions and events running during Rockets games, as well as bringing back the collection that raised so much last year. They are also accepting donations on location during any time of the week to put towards the house.