An RCMP officer keeps an eye on residents as they pack up their items after spending the night at a new homeless camp set up near the Kelowna Curling Club. (Jen Zielinski - Capital News)

Journey Home launches new tool to end homelessness in Kelowna

The society plans to formulate an all-inclusive list of people experiencing homelessness in Kelowna

The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society has announced its participation with Built for Zero Canada, a national effort that strives to end homelessness.

Zero Canada uses a data-driven approach to help communities develop an understanding of who is experiencing homelessness in the community and where to find them in an effort to more effectively understand which resources are needed to get people off the streets.

Kelowna is one of only two communities to participate in Built for Zero Canada in B.C. The society will be putting together an all-inclusive list of the names of individuals, families, youth and veterans experiencing homelessness by summer 2020.

“Knowing people by name and where they are at in the system means our data is more accurate,” said Stephanie Ball, executive director of the Journey Home Society.

“The core work of measuring impact in ending homelessness in our community starts with having clear, real-time data that paints of picture of the individuals experiencing homelessness and captures the inflow and outflow of people moving through the homelessness and housing supports systems.”

READ MORE: UBC Okanagan, YMCA team up to tackle prediabetes with prevention program

According to Journey Home Strategy, 2,000 people experience homelessness at some point during the course of one year.

“While we often see visible homelessness in the community, what is much less visible are the people sleeping in cars, motels, precariously housed, or couch surfing,” said Ball.

“We also don’t have a clear picture or map of the inflow and outflow of residents falling into homelessness throughout the year. The partnership with Built for Zero Canada and the By Names List will change all of that.”

The list also provides real-time data on the inflow and outflow of people experiencing homelessness and people returning to homelessness.

“We’ll be able to measure data trends on a month-to-month basis across the community, and eventually the region,” said Ball.

“We’ll be able to more accurately identify clear housing model and support needs and numbers. We’ll be able to see where housing services supports are most effective and where they aren’t so we can modify services and systems accordingly. There is so much this partnership with Built for Zero will allow us to do as we work towards functional zero homelessness in our community.”

For more information about the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society and the Journey Home Strategy, visit

READ MORE: Fresh Outlook Foundation to host community health summit in Kelowna

Daniel Taylor
Reporter, Kelowna Capital News
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