Journey Home Strategy
Journey Home Strategy reset
Kelowna has gone through dramatic changes since 2018. The landscape around homelessness has intensified due to many factors, like the toxic drug supply crisis, the Covid-19 pandemic and housing unaffordability. We see people experiencing homelessness who never have before, and rapid growth in the number of people sheltering outside.
The City is establishing a new, internal team to lead renewal of the Journey Home Strategy. We’ll implement the next phase of the Strategy in collaboration with local housing and social-serving sector partners. The City has taken a progressively larger role in homelessness and outdoor sheltering response over the last five years and this move is a natural next step. We’ll transition implementation responsibilities from the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society to this team through the remainder of 2023, and the new City team is expected to be operational in early 2024. The City is developing its internal structure, assembling the team and formalizing partnerships with sector partners. Additional details will be announced in fall as this work continues.
We continue to work with all partners, focused on improving conditions for people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna, and ultimately solving homelessness.
The City sees a clear need to strengthen its role in addressing homelessness in a more direct way. This decision follows a scheduled Journey Home Strategy implementation review carried out in early 2023. The review engaged local social-serving sector partners and a key finding was a request that the City enhance its role in implementation.
The process to transition implementation responsibilities to the City is already underway and will continue through the end of 2023. The City’s new team will become established and operational in 2024.
The City’s new support and collaborative leadership role for the local social-serving sector will lead to a renewal of the Journey Home Strategy and a new phase of implementation. We will work with sector partners to ensure our goals and targets match current conditions and challenges. The City sees a clear need to strengthen its role in addressing homelessness in a more direct way, and this change will do exactly that.
Greater investment will be needed to address homelessness in Kelowna moving forward. A City-supported model will ensure appropriate investment in addressing homelessness and create greater value for taxpayers from that investment.
History of the Journey Home Strategy
The Journey Home Strategy was first introduced in 2018. Strategy development was community-led and included perspectives from social-serving sector partners, affected organizations, people who experienced homelessness, and many others.
The Strategy is made up of two parts:
- The Community Report provides an overview of the Strategy and how it was developed.
- The Technical Report provides a deeper dive into Kelowna’s strengths and challenges
These documents provided a roadmap for the first five-year implementation of the Strategy. Kelowna has gone through dramatic changes since 2018, but the documents continue as the foundation of the Journey Home Strategy and will be central in its next implementation phase.
The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society
The first five-year implementation of the Strategy was led by the Central Okanagan Journey Home Strategy (COJHS) from 2018 until the end of 2023. The COJHS was a key partner in local efforts to address homelessness and we cannot overstate our gratitude for what our two organizations accomplished together.