My name is Gaelene Askeland, and I’ve been at the helm of the Central Okanagan Journey Home society since the beginning of February 2019. As a startup venture, my board and I have set up an office, a bank account with online banking, hired Saran Mallinson, our amazing system mapper/planner, and have been involved with numerous meetings connecting with the community stakeholders, funding organizations and government entities.
The Journey Home strategy is a 5 year plan to end homelessness in Kelowna. There is much to do to accomplish that, and it is truly through the community itself that it will be successful. As a backbone organization, we are here to convene, encourage, educate, and make connections so that all of the different pieces that have to happen, do indeed happen.
My favourite graphic from the strategy is the one at the top of this post, which shows what we truly aim to do in the next 5 years. Prevention (keeping people in their homes), diversion from shelters (helping them find immediate alternatives before even stepping foot into a shelter) as well as a variety of programs that help people keep their housing once they have been placed. Besides programming, we need more housing! There is so much need for affordable housing in our community.
I am so proud of this community for the extensive involvement in the development of this strategy, and for our City Council for endorsing it. As you will learn from this site and from this blog, the reasons people become homeless are as myriad and diverse as the people themselves.
This blog will have regular posts from myself, my team members, board members, and from our advisory groups of people with lived experience of homelessness.