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Federal funding announced to help reduce homelessness in Kelowna

The federal government has granted $759,000 in funding to five Kelowna community associations to help reduce homelessness.
The federal government has granted $759,000 in funding to five Kelowna community associations to help reduce homelessness. Global News

Five community associations in Kelowna have received federal funding to help reduce homelessness.

The funding amounts to $759,000 for 2019-20, and comes from the federal government’s Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy.

Benefitting will be the Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society, the Kelowna branch of the Canadian Mental Health Association, New Opportunities for Women Canada, the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club and Kelowna’s Gospel Mission.

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According to the federal government, the Homelessness Partnering Strategy is a community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding.

The strategy’s goal is to reduce chronic homelessness nationally by 50 per cent by 2027-28.

“I want to thank our local providers for their ongoing efforts to address homelessness in our communities,” Kelowna-Lake Country MP Stephen Fuhr said in a press release.

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“Safe, stable, affordable housing, especially for the most vulnerable, is fundamental to getting people back on their feet and becoming fully active again in our communities.”

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The funds are targeted toward community priorities which have been identified through an inclusive community planning process, involving officials from all orders of government, community stakeholders, and the private and voluntary sectors.

To qualify for funding, local programs had to meet two local priorities: reducing homelessness through a Housing First approach; and improving the self-sufficiency of homeless individuals and families and those who are at imminent risk of homelessness.

The Central Okanagan Foundation (COF) says it is responsible for managing the Reaching Home strategy funds, in collaboration with the Community Advisory Board on Homelessness.

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The COF says Reaching Home gives communities flexibility in how they use their funding to meet local needs, including the needs of vulnerable populations, such as young people, LGBTQ2 communities, women fleeing violence, racialized communities, veterans and persons with disabilities.

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“We’re thankful for our continued partnership with the government of Canada to improve the lives of marginalized individuals in our community through the Reaching Home funding,” said Mia Burgess of the COF.