When you’re talking about addressing homelessness, the numbers matter. The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society (the Society) is thrilled to announce its participation with Built for Zero Canada, a national effort using a data-driven approach to help communities develop a complete picture of who is experiencing homelessness in the community and where to find them in order to quantify exactly what housing resources are needed to reach functional zero homelessness.

As one of only two BC communities to participate in Built for Zero Canada, the Society intends to have an all-inclusive list (called a By Name List) of individuals, families, youth and veterans experiencing homelessness by summer 2020. “Knowing people by name and where they are at in the system means our data is more accurate,” said Stephanie Ball, Executive Director, Central Okanagan Journey Home Society. “The core work of measuring impact in ending homelessness in our community starts with having clear, real-time data that paints of picture of the individuals experiencing homelessness and captures the inflow and outflow of people moving through the homelessness and housing supports systems.”

The Journey Home Strategy reports that 2,000 people experience homelessness at some point during the course of one year. “While we often see visible homelessness in the community, what is much less visible are the people sleeping in cars, motels, precariously housed, or couch surfing,” said Ball. “We also don’t have a clear picture or map of the inflow and outflow of residents falling into homelessness throughout the year. The partnership with Built for Zero Canada and the By Names List will change all of that.”

On an aggregate level, the list provides real-time data on the inflow and outflow of people experiencing homelessness and people returning to homelessness. “We’ll be able to measure data trends on a month-to-month basis across the community, and eventually the region,” said Ball. “We’ll be able to more accurately identify clear housing model and support needs and numbers. We’ll be able to see where housing services supports are most effective and where they aren’t so we can modify services and systems accordingly. There is so much this partnership with Built for Zero will allow us to do as we work towards functional zero homelessness in our community.”

For more information about the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society and the Journey Home Strategy, visit journeyhome.ca. For more information about Built for Zero Canada, please visit bfzcanada.ca.

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