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Highly anticipated homelessness strategy approved in Kelowna

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It’s been in the works for months and now Kelowna city council has approved an action plan to address the growing problem of homelessness.

The Journey Home Strategy is a $47 million plan that includes an action plan to support 2,100 people by providing them access to housing or support programs by 2024.

“The timing is right to move this strategy into action,” Martin Bell, Journey Home co-chair said. “We know what we need and we are well positioned with a concrete strategy in hand that aligns with the focus and priorities of senior government. Most importantly, we have community support and a sense of urgency to move this plan into action.”

The main priorities include the addition of 300 new long-term supportive housing units, some of which are already being built.

READ MORE: Groundbreaking for controversial homeless housing complex in Kelowna

The strategy also includes 500 new support program spaces, the creation of a backbone organization to lead the strategy implementation, and a funding strategy designed to tap into several different financial sources.

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The plan has 38 key actions with set milestones and targets as well as identified key contributors.

“We’ve learned in creating this strategy that it’s as much about bringing the community together as it is creating a guiding document,” Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Journey Home co-chair said. “The response we’ve received from the community has been truly inspiring, from those who work closest to homelessness, to the engagement of those who’ve never really been a part of conversation such as the technology and innovation sector. Most importantly are the voices of those who have, or are, experiencing homelessness that resonate throughout the action plan. The expertise they’ve provided has been incredibly valuable and we will continue to seek their guidance as we transition into the next stage.”

With the strategy now approved, work will begin to create an organization, called a backbone organization, to lead and roll out the strategy.