Black Press file pic. - Image: Shannon Lough

Black Press file pic. - Image: Shannon Lough

National organizations to aid Kelowna homelessness strategy

The City of Kelowna has attracted two nationally recognized groups to its homelessness task force

A focus on youth homelessness has led the City of Kelowna to two national organizations that have partnered with the city to address the overall homelessness issue.

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) and A Way Home – Canada (AWH) have joined with the City of Kelowna’s Journey Home Strategy.

“As the community of Kelowna was embarking on the development of the Journey Home Strategy to address the issue of homelessness in our community, the need to address the distinct needs of youth who are facing homelessness was clear,” states a City of Kelowna report, going to council today.

Related: BC Housing revamping new housing on Commerce Ave.

“The approach has been designed to integrate and embed a strategy to address youth homelessness into the overarching Journey Home Strategy. This will ensure that the unique responses required to effectively address youth homelessness are prioritized.”

That approach to youth caught the attention of the organizations, also working on the issue of youth homelessness.

The group hopes to be able to present its strategy to council this June.

“The strategy is being designed to transform Kelowna’s housing and homelessness services into an integrated, people-centered, results-focused service system,” states the report.

Led by Dr. Stephen Gaetz, The Observatory will be engaged throughout the scope of the project in an expert advisory role to ensure the approach is grounded in leading edge research while developing locally informed solutions, states the report.

A Way Home is a national movement that believes that by aligning the strategies and resources of key stakeholders a permanent solution can be found to end youth homelessness.

According to the city, the Journey Home Task Force’s strategy will:

• Be based on a Homeless-Serving Systems Planning approach;

• Be driven by local and lived experience in the application of best practice principles to ensure a community-wide collaborative process; and

• Become a guide for local decision-making on addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues.

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