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City of Kelowna inks agreement to support homelessness strategy

Council endorsed a memorandum of understanding with the Journey Home Society on Monday
A man sitting outside of his tent on Leon Avenue in downtown Kelowna on Nov. 1, 2019. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)

Kelowna city council is continuing its support for the Journey Home Strategy.

On Monday, Oct. 5, council endorsed a memorandum of understanding between the city and the Journey Home Society, extending the partnership between the two organizations to 2023. The MOU designed to support the society as it continues to grow and evolve, and increase their sustainability as an independent organization.

Ultimately, the MOU defines the city’s role in the Journey Home Strategy, which aims to achieve functional zero homelessness in the city, as one of advocacy for leadership and investment at the provincial and national levels and to enable collaboration across regional communities.

Council was happy to endorse the agreement, giving accolades to the Journey Home Society — and themselves — as they did so.

“It’s amazing to think about the journey we’ve gone on as a city to try to understand this topic, this issue,” said Coun. Ryan Donn. “It feels kind of momentous today that we have a chance to make it official and lock in plans that have been in the works for more than four years.”

“People are watching us across Canada,” said Coun. Maxine DeHart. “They are very interested in our whole plan. That tells me that we’re on the right track.”

The city, as part of council’s endorsement of the MOU, commited to the roles of funder, collaborator, partner and advocate of the strategy.

The city previously made the commitment to fund $150,000 annually to the Journey Home Society until 2021. Funding for the final two years (2022 and 2023) of the MOU will be considered as part of the city’s annual budget process.

A performance review of the Journey Home Society is expected to come before council sometime next year.

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