The Strategy to end and prevent homelessness in our community was developed through deep community consultation over a year; engaging people with lived and living experience of homelessness, sector agencies, government, and the broader community.
The phrase “Journey Home” has had many different meanings in the Central Okanagan in the past few years. It started as a belief that all people have the right to safe and dignified housing, and the supports required to sustain it.
A 21-member task force – the Journey Home Task Force – was created in 2017 to build a roadmap to move the Central Okanagan region toward this vision. Task force members were drawn from a diverse range of sectors and more than 2,000 points of contact with community members were combined to shape the strategy. The Journey Home Strategy was released in summer 2018, drawing strength from the collective wisdom of those many voices.
The strategy has two parts:
- The Community Report, which provides an overview of the strategy and its development.
- The Technical Report, which explores the unique challenges and strengths in Kelowna that shape strategy development and execution.
For a brief overview, check out the Journey Home Strategy at-a-glance.
The Journey Home Society
The Journey Home Strategy charts a path to end chronic and episodic homelessness, prevent homelessness in the first place and implement a coordinated, systems approach to homelessness. It lists 35 specific actions to reach these milestones. Chief among them is the rollout of a backbone organization dedicated to implementing the strategy.
In February 2019, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society was created to be that backbone.
Since then, Journey Home has worked with its partners to improve conditions for people experiencing homelessness, coordinate homeless-serving sector organizations and overcome the many challenges encountered over the years. Since 2017, when the Journey Home Task Force was assembled, more than 300 homes with supports have been created in Kelowna.
We have celebrated important successes in recent years but there is a lot more still to do. A functional end to homelessness is more than a worthy goal, it is an attainable outcome and one we will never stop pursuing.