Tackling such a complex issue is a collaborative, community effort and any and all help is appreciated.
Our work to end homelessness locally requires the ongoing support from community members and businesses. Your contributions help us reach the goal of ending and preventing homelessness locally. Please consider a one-time or ongoing donation to this critical work.
Volunteering is always welcome in community agencies throughout Kelowna. Whether it is for short-term projects or long-term service, there is always a need for volunteers in our community work. Reach out to our local partners to find out what opportunities may be available.
Journey Home Pledge
All of the community input has been brought together to form the Journey Home Strategy. In addition to showing that the community is poised and ready to move forward with the Strategy, the signed pledges serve as a visual reminder that addressing homelessness effectively takes the whole community.
These pledges were designed by community stakeholders engaged in the work to end homelessness locally. Our partners adopted these pledges at the onset of the Strategy to affirm their commitment to collective impact efforts.
To learn more, review the Journey Home pledge frequently asked questions.
If you would like to support Journey Home but aren’t sure where to start, we welcome you to reach out initially by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
JOURNEY HOME TRANSITION TEAM (SUMMER 2018 – JAN 2019)
The Journey Home Transition Team plays a vital role in maintaining community momentum and moving the strategy forward into implementation. The primary task of the Transition Team is to establish the Backbone Organization, including designing and establishing the governance structure; building an advocacy and funding strategy; securing funding; and building the foundation for the Backbone to form partnerships, and enter into agreements with community agencies and organizations. The Transition Team will work alongside the Youth Advocates for Housing and the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness to design the Journey Home Backbone Organization governance structure to ensure the voice of lived and living experience continues to guide and be at the forefront.
In order to provide diverse representation, the Transition Team is comprised of stakeholders representing a diversity of sectors, skills, knowledge, experience, along with a strong interest in homelessness prevention and the provision of affordable housing.
The Journey Home Transition Team is not a Committee of Council.
JOURNEY HOME TASK FORCE (TERM COMPLETED)
The Journey Home Task Force is a group of community members appointed by Kelowna City Council who are working to move the Journey Home strategy to reality. The Task Force’s goal is to lead the development of the long-term Journey Home strategy to ensure people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna have a clear path to the support they need, when they need it.
The Task Force will be supported by Dr. Alina Turner and Turner Strategies. Dr. Turner led the implementation of Canada’s first Homelessness Management Information System and has worked with a number of cities across Canada including Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife on their plans to end homelessness. Turner Strategies has also partnered with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada to prepare Kelowna’s Journey Home plan.
The Journey Home Task Force meetings commenced with an orientation in late September 2017. The Task Force will continue to meet on a monthly basis through to the completion of the Strategy in 2018.
A WAY HOME – KELOWNA: ADDRESSING YOUTH HOMELESSNESS
A Way Home Kelowna (AWH Kelowna), is guided by a steering committee with membership from the Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs, Canadian Mental Health Association – Kelowna, The Bridge Youth & Family Services, Westbank First Nation, United Way, City of Kelowna, the Ministry of Children and Family Development, and the Central Okanagan Foundation.
Focused on identifying, developing, and implementing strategies to prevent and end youth homelessness in our community, AWH Kelowna is committed to ensuring that the needs of youth are prioritized and form an essential part of the Journey Home strategy. The strategy will be embedded into Journey Home, ensuring that the needs of young people are prioritized and that the unique responses required to address their needs are front and center.
The project has four objectives:
- Develop, expand, and strengthen strategic cross sector partnerships to advance coordinated, systems level interventions for youth experiencing, or at-risk of, homelessness;
- Produce a community strategy and implementation plan to prevent and end youth homelessness;
- Test, adapt, document, and evaluate promising practices in strategic collaboration and community planning to address youth homelessness;
- Implement innovative models of youth engagement, empowering young people with lived experience of homelessness to be partners in transforming coordinated responses to youth homelessness.
How are youth with lived experience involved?
Just over 50 youth (12-25 year olds with a diverse range of lived experience) have been engaged to date through focus groups and one on one sessions. Youth identified that there’s a lot of good work happening in Kelowna. Findings will be worked into the youth strategy implementation.
LIVED EXPERIENCE CIRCLE
The Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness (LECoH) was born through the development of the Journey Home Strategy. LECoH is an advisory group of individuals with lived experience of homelessness who gather together to provide a collective voice to inform the community and the homeless serving sector on issues related to homelessness. Their mission statement is, “A voice for the homeless or those at risk of homelessness, creating openness with understanding, releasing fear and judgement and initiating change.”
LECoH is currently made up of ten individuals that meet every two weeks, working alongside Journey Home. The Circle will have a seat on the newly formed Central Okanagan Journey Home Society Board of Directors in order to continue to provide guidance in the implementation of the Strategy. The members will come together regularly and will be asked to provide insight on the strengths and gaps in the current homeless serving system.
If you are interested in sharing your expertise through the Lived Experience Circle, please email Journey Home.
CITY OF KELOWNA
While the City has taken a leadership role in the development of the Journey Home Strategy, an inclusive community driven process is essential to ensure a collective commitment to move the plan into action.
The City of Kelowna’s role is to:
- support the work of the Journey Home Task Force in developing a long-term community plan to address homelessness
- partner with various levels of government and services develop strong housing policies and incentives that support rental units and density
- balance the needs of all residents
Hiring a Social Development Manager in 2016 was one of the first steps in a process to bring together partners within the community to help address the growing issue of homelessness that is occurring across the country. While no one individual or agency is able to solve these complex social issues on their own, this dedicated City presence will contribute to the joint efforts of government, community groups, businesses and social agencies to address our community’s issues and develop a coordinated, strategic approach.