They know what it’s like to be out in the cold. They’ve experienced the hunger, the loneliness, the loss of hope.
Members of Kelowna’s Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness (LECoH) are on their feet, walking to raise money for others in the community who are hungry, hurting and experiencing homelessness at the Coldest Night of the Year on Feb. 23 and Strides to End Homelessness on Mar. 2.
“We know that putting faces to the experience helps to dispel some myths and misconceptions about who is homeless and why,” said one Lived Experience Circle member in a news release sent out by Journey Home. “Stigma and discrimination towards people experiencing homelessness is actually a driver to homelessness and a barrier to recovery. By putting ourselves out there in the community and sharing a bit of our experiences, we hope to change that.”
LECoH was formed alongside the Journey Home Strategy process as it became clear that weaving the lived and living experience expertise throughout the development and implementation of the Strategy, including the need to have an ongoing working group, was critical to success.
They say it takes a village to raise a child. Along the same vein, it takes that same village – a compassionate community – to come together to address and eradicate homelessness.
LECoH, walking alongside members of the Journey Home Transition Team and members of the community at the Coldest Night of the Year and Strides to End Homelessness is a tangible demonstration of how we are all in this together and how people from all walks of life can come together to create change.
“These events are a way for us to engage with the community,” said Gerard Joyal, LECoH Convenor, “We are all in this together and we are bigger than the problems that perpetuate homelessness and the stigma on those who experience homelessness.”
LECoH’s participation in events such as the Coldest Night of the Year and Strides to End Homelessness supports their mission to be a voice for those who are experiencing homeless or those at risk of homelessness, creating openness with understanding, releasing fear and judgment and initiating change.
The fundraiser can be found here.
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