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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

Kelowna Toyota is located at 1200 Leathead Road. (BLack Press Media file)
Kelowna Toyota’s auto service department closed due to COVID-19 exposure

The dealership’s sales department is still open and is operating under regular business hours

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Kelowna OK Tire closed due to COVID-19 exposure

The business will remain closed until May 11

Two e-scooters parked on the sidewalk along Water Street in downtown Kelowna on Monday, May 3. Scooters parked on walkways are causing accessibility issues for some people with disabilities. (Michael Rodriguez/Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick summary of the stories that made an impact from May 3 to 5

City of Vernon Coun. Dalvir Nahal proposed two blocks of Main Street be closed to bolster recovery for downtown businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
Vernon’s ‘support local’ Main Street closure would cost city $24K, staff say

Bylaw costs, loss of parking revenue and equipment logistics behind price tag

Officials are surveying the streets of Vernon to get a better sense of the issue of homelessness in the city, as part of the province’s point-in-time homeless count for 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Province conducts homeless count in Vernon

It’s the first time Vernon has been included in the provincial homeless count

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

A proposed development would see two four-storey affordable housing complexes erected on Adair Street in Armstrong, next to the Nor-Val Arena. (Google Maps)
Local tenants to be prioritized for Armstrong affordable housing project

Staff have drafted an expression of interest to find a developer to move forward with on the project

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Most Read