Journey Home Task Force co-chairs Kyle Myrah (left) and Martin Bell were joined by consultant Alina Turner Monday when they presented the strategy to address homelessness in Kelowna to city council. —Image: Alistair Waters/Capital News

Lived experience crucial for Kelowna’s Journey Home

The task force works with people who have been homeless to ensure strategy is effective

How do you ensure a strategy to address homelessness is going to be effective? You include people who have lived or living experience to guide the process.

This is what sets the Journey Home Strategy apart from other strategies to address homelessness, from the beginning, input and guidance was sought from community members with lived or living experience with homelessness.

The Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness (LECoH) is a group of individuals who have lived or are living the experience of homelessness in Kelowna and is the result of a series of comprehensive conversations with over 200 individuals with lived and living experience of homelessness in our community.

“These conversations were essential in the creation of the Journey Home Strategy,” said Dr. Kyleen Myrah, co-chair of the Journey Home Transition Team. “Through these robust discussions, it became evident 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.”

LECoH is currently made up of ten individuals that meet every two weeks, working alongside Journey Home Transition Team. In order to continue to provide guidance in the implementation of the Strategy, the Circle will have a seat on the newly formed Central Okanagan Journey Home Society Board of Directors.

“I have a lot of experience being homeless and I care about people who are living on the street,” said one LECoH member. “I’m trying to make it a little easier for people to get housing.”

One of the goals of LECoH is to find creative and meaningful ways to inform the greater community about the experience of homelessness in order to reduce stigma. The recent Ending Us and Them event on Nov. 22 at the Kelowna Community Theatre was just one example of how this work can be done. With a sold out crowd, members of the community came together for an artisan market, film screening and panel discussion to dispel myths about homelessness and highlight the root causes of homelessness – including pain, trauma and abuse. Attendees reported that the evening transformed their perspectives and encouraged them to educate themselves further.

RELATED: Kelowna looking for board of directors for Journey Home Strategy

“Something I will do differently tomorrow is I will become a catalyst for change, I will have conversations with my friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours encouraging them to challenge their perspectives and the myths about homelessness,” said another LECoH member.

RELATED: Formerly homeless woman speaks on need for affordable housing in Kelowna

“The Ending Us and Them event was a way to foster a relationship of understanding among people who don’t normally connect,” said Gerard Joyal, LECoH convenor. “For LECoH, it’s about developing a community where no one person or group of people are on the outside looking in. 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 will continue to meet regularly and work alongside the new Journey Home Society to empower individuals with lived and living experience to share their wisdom and contribute their expertise to guide how the Journey Home Strategy is implemented. This will ensure that the Strategy remains relevant and responsive. An example of LECoH’s current work is to guide the development of a peer support program designed with the goal of having a person with lived experience of homelessness available to mentor individuals in their navigation of the homeless serving system.

For more information about Journey Home and how the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness is involved, please visit kelowna.ca/journeyhome

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Highway 97 rock slide north of Summerland beginning to stabilize

Costs of road work so far estimated at between $300,000 and $350,000

Free hugs? Kelowna students launch social experiment

Are all hugs the same? Some local students went out and measured.

No love for Warriors in Valentine’s day lost to Prince George

West Kelowna lost 5-2 Thursday to the Spruce Kings

‘The whole door was gone’ witness recounts alleged kidnapping at Kelowna apartment

Patricia Sawadsky looked outside to see numerous police vehicles surrounding her apartment

VIDEO: Canada’s flag turns 54 today

The maple leaf design by George Stanley made its first appearance Feb. 15, 1965

Former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell accused of sexual touching

Accuser went to police, interviewed by Britian’s Daily Telegraph

Syrian refugee responds to racism in Canada

Guest columnist Mustafa Zaqrit

Lower Mainland boy shot with pellet gun

Surrey RCMP believe Cloverdale pellet gun incidents are ‘linked’

Avalanche control planned tomorrow on Highway 1

The highway will be closed in the morning east of Revelstoke

Okanagan firefighters respond to emergency call for own member

Oliver firefighters found out who the call was for when they arrived on the scene

Valentine’s Day stabbing in Kamloops

A 21-year-old man is facing charges; the victim sustained non-life-threatening injuries

Judge rules Abbotsford home must be sold after son tries to evict mom

Mom to get back down payment and initial expenses

Drivers illegally passing school buses prompts safety campaign

School District #83 count 32 vehicles passing buses with lights flashing in January

Most Read