Journey Home gets political

Directors of the City of Kelowna's Journey Home Task Force Society have entered the political fray as advance polls open for the 2018 civic election.

Five directors, Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Scott Lanigan, Shane Worman, Diane Roy and Dave Krysko authored a news release Wednesday to correct "misinformation and posturing" on the need for more talk on homelessness, and what is and is not being done.

The release says the 23 members agreed a strategy to end homelessness in Kelowna must be evidence-based, action-oriented and achievable within five years, and are speaking out to set the record straight.

Since the strategy was complete earlier this year, they say 88 units of supportive housing have been built and will come online in December, with the potential for another 102 units in 2019.

Other initiatives underway include:

  • An Assertive Community Treatment team to support over 60 individuals with a 64 per cent reduction of homelessness in ACT clients and 33 per cent reduction in emergency visits.
  • An application to establish a Community Court is also underway.
  • The faith sector is collaborating on mapping all the services they provide in Kelowna, West Kelowna and Lake Country for those who are homeless.
  • Housing First training is being provided to all service providers with a view to carrying forward the Journey Home strategy and to maximize the community’s ability to secure senior government funding for more housing with supports.
  • The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society has been incorporated make sure all of the action items included in the strategy are achieved.
  • A lived-experience circle of those who have experienced homelessness has been formed to develop solutions.

The directors say they are available to talk with council candidates who would "truly like to engage and learn about the complexities of homelessness."

"The time for talk and more consultations is over," they say.

"The focus for all needs to be squarely on actions considered in the Journey Home strategy, and in obtaining the resources necessary to make sure Kelowna is successful in following through."

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