Kelowna’s Journey Home Task Force to address the issue of homelessness in the city is calling for public participation in the process.—Image: contributed

Public urged to get involved with Kelowna’s plan to address homelessness

The Journey Home task force outlines numerous ways public can participate in process

Kelowna’s Journey Home Task Force is inviting the public to provide input and perspectives on homelessness as the long-term Journey Home plan is developed.

And there are a number of ways the public can get involved, say city officials including:

• Taking an online survey regarding homelessness in Kelowna

• Attending one of the upcoming Journey Home Design Labs open for public participation

“Development of the Journey Home plan is designed to be community-driven and inclusive, as such, we want to hear from all citizens who may have an interest, idea or opinion on homelessness in our community,” said Martin Bell, Journey Home Task Force co-chair.

“The survey results will be an important tool for the Journey Home team to get a solid understanding of the general feel from the public on the issue, while the design labs will allow for a deeper look at some of the complex issues surrounding homelessness and strategizing the best ways to approach them at a local level.”

Online survey (open Feb. 7 – March 5):

The online survey is open to all citizens and will remain open until March 5 to give the Task Force enough time for analysis before finalizing the Journey Home plan for June 2018.

Journey Home design labs (Feb. 19 – March 9):

The following design labs are open for public participation. An additional nine design labs will be held with individuals or groups with specific areas of expertise. More information about each session, along with registration information can be found at kelowna.ca/journeyhome:

Feb 19: Ending Homelessness & Reconciliation

Feb 19: Early Identification & Prevention Strategies

Feb 20: Integrating Intimate Partner Violence Responses in the Plan

Feb 21: Linking Poverty Reduction & Homelessness Initiatives

Feb 22: Housing First & Supportive Housing for Chronic & Episodic Homelessness

Feb 23: Coordinated Access & Assessment

Feb 23: Red Zone Review

Mar 6: Developing Mental Health & Addictions Supports for People Experiencing Homelessness

Mar 7: Research Agenda to Support the Plan

Mar 7: Public Education & Understanding

Mar 8: Affordable (rent-geared-to-income) Housing Development

Mar 8: Minority Populations

Mar 9: Technology-Based Solutions

Mar 9: Engaging the Faith Community

Topics for the design labs were determined using key takeaways and learnings from two community summits on homelessness held in Kelowna in January.

More than 100 representatives working in the homeless-serving sector, as well as members of the business community, government agencies, and those with lived experience attended the summits including one hosted by A Way Home – Kelowna focusing on youth homelessness and prevention.

In addition to the summits, survey and design labs, a Lived Experience Circle has been established to inform and guide the work of the Journey Home Task Force.

Those who are currently experiencing homelessness, or have experienced homelessness in their lifetime, are welcome to join the circle. More information about the Lived Experience Circle including the next meeting date is available at kelowna.ca/journeyhome.

Following the consultation process, a draft of the Journey Home plan is set to be presented to Kelowna city council in June 2018.

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