Kyleen Myrah, co-chair of Kelowna’s Journey Home Society. (contributed)

Journey Home co-chair reacts to executive director’s planned departure

Kyleen Myrah says a different skill set will be needed by Gaelene Askland’s replacement

The co-chairwoman of Kelowna’ Journey Home Society, the group implementing the city strategy to address homelessness, says the departure of executive director Gaelene Askland was not sudden nor unexpected.

Kyleen Myrah said the society informed its partners of the upcoming move a few weeks ago.

Askland will leave the position Aug. 23 after six months on the job.

Myrah said it was known when Askland was hired earlier this year that the time would come when a different approach from the one Askland brought to the society would be needed.

Myrah said she just did not know when that would be.

But, she added, the skills Askland brought to the job, laid the foundations for the society to move to that crucial next phase.

“We now need a different kind of leadership,” said Myrah, adding Askland’s departure was a “mutual decision.”

READ MORE: Kelowna’s Journey Home executive director quits

She said Askland’s departure was not a result of controversy in the community that has sprung up concerning a number of supportive housing projects, most of which allow drug use on-site.

She noted Askland was executive director of the John Howard Society before moving to Journey Home, and as such headed an organization that operates some of the city’s existing supportive housing projects.

She also helped shepherd the controversial Agassiz Road supportive housing project through a city rezoning.

That project had area residents, particularly seniors, protest the planned development, fearing their neighbourhood would become unsafe and their property values would drop.

Myrah said Askland was not unfamiliar in dealing with controversy.

Askland’s replacement is expected to be in place by the fall and will be someone with a different skill set, said Myrah, someone one is adept at raising investment and someone who will be more of a “public face” for the society.

She added that that person does not necessarily have to be from the non-profit housing sector, or even local.

But she said Askland’s experience in that sector locally was invaluable for Journey Home as it got off the ground.

READ MORE: At the helm of the Journey Home Society

The Journey Home Society, as it moves to the next phase of its work to implement the strategy over the remaining four years of its five-years mandate, will have to do a better job educating the public about the need and benefit of housing the homeless in future, said Myrah.

The Journey Home co-chair said she believes there is misinformation circulating in the community about housing the homeless.

In some cases, she states correct information is being “blocked” by those who do not want it to get out because it does not fit with their view of what is currently happening.

“We need to do a better job educating people,” Myrah said.

To report a typo, email:
newstips@kelownacapnews.com
.


@KelownaCapNews
newstips@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Former Canadian Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin to visit Kelowna

Beverley McLachlin served as the 17th Chief Justice of Canada from 2000 to 2017

‘Share the love for your neighbourhood’: Kelowna looking for creative improvement ideas

A $1,500 grant towards a neighbourhood enhancement project is up for grabs

Man arrested following theft, threats at Kelowna store

The 20-year-old man remains in police custody and faces a number of potential charges

Crime Stoppers: Kelowna’s most wanted

John Brent Anderson is wanted on a provincial wide warrant

Okanagan Spring Wine Festival tickets now on sale

The festival takes place from Apr. 30 to May 17.

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

Johnny Cash takes centre stage in Okanagan

Outlaw Country to revive classics of the Man in Black in March

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

After two years Ryan Shtuka’s disappearance remains a mystery

The 20-year-old vanished after leaving a party in Sun Peaks on Feb. 17, 2018

Summerland junior boys basketball team off to Provincials

Tournament will be held in Langley Feb. 22 to 25

Okanagan cadets medal at Sovereign Lake biathlon

First time in 15 years championships held on home turf

Most Read