Person that is homeless in downtown Kelowna. Photo: Capital News files

Kelowna places bid for $10 million high-tech grant

High-tech data analysis project bid to assist homelessness strategy

The City of Kelowna has submitted a bid for a $10-million technology innovation grant.

The Smart Cities Challenge is a federal government competition open to all municipalities, Indigenous communities, and local or regional governments across Canada.

For the bids that all focus on addressing local issues residents face, Kelowna has focused on addressing housing vulnerability and homelessness.

Related:Kelowna homelessness strategy takes a housing first approach

“The goal is to reduce the risk of homelessness by diversifying the range of affordable and attainable housing options in our community. It’s great to see such a dynamic group of community partners working together to address this important community issue,” Mayor Colin Basran said in a press release.

The City of Kelowna has detailed in their proposal that the grant would aid in the creation of data and tools would make it easy to analyze data from Kelowna’s housing and homeless serving systems. Allowing the city to achieve a more stable and diverse housing market and connect service providers to create partnerships.

Related: Kelowna mayor calls on public to get involved with homelessness initiative

Through the Smart Cities proposal, predictive modeling and data analytics will give the city a clear direction in how to meet the city’s needs, by pairing the bid with the Journey Home Task Force, an initiative struck to end homelessness by connecting people with the proper services and providing housing units.

“Technology can help to address real challenges. This plan is a result of needs and potential solutions identified by social service communities, development professionals, tech entrepreneurs, and those with lived experience,” Raghwa Gopal, CEO at Accelerate Okanagan said in a press release. “Our hope is that a model like this can be used in communities across the country facing similar housing and homelessness challenges.”

Five finalists will be selected from each prize category and will be announced during the summer.

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