Thursday marks 2 year mark of Journey Home Strategy

2 years into Journey Home

Two years into Kelowna’s five-year plan to address homelessness, the Journey Home Society says progress is being made. 

The strategy is anchored by the idea that every human has the right to safe and dignified housing and care with an end goal of an end to homelessness.

“Following the communities endorsement of the Journey Home Strategy, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society was formed and has worked tirelessly in the last 15 months, since staff have been in place, to take on homeless systems planning, funding coordination and building partnerships with key groups,” says executive director Stephanie Ball.

“One of the actions in the Journey Home strategy included creation of 300 new housing with supports units to support people in the rental market. We are already ahead of that goal with 136 new units of housing opened since the strategy was endorsed and 168 units currently in development.”

In addition to securing homes, the Journey Home Society has also expanded the “Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness,” to allow people who have experienced homelessness to share their voice to reach the community. The group partnered with Urban Matters to  launch PEOPLE (Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences) to offer training and work opportunities to people with lived experiences of homelessness and/or drug use.

Kelowna is one of two B.C. communities that are participating in the Built for Zero Canada. This data-driven approach provides real-time data focused on the inflow and outflow of people experiencing homelessness and those who have returned to homelessness. This allows for month-to-month data collecting across the community which identifies housing models and support needs. 

“While significant progress has been made to date in implementing the Journey Home Strategy, including the top 10 actions, there is still so much work to be done,” says Ball. “But it’s gratifying to see that the work to implement the community-driven Journey Home Strategy is making a difference and that we are creating a responsive system that can act quickly to move people from homelessness to being properly supported.”

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