Kelowna has embarked on an ambitious five-year, $46.7 million plan to address homelessness in the city called the Journey Home Initiative. —Image: Carli Berry/Capital News

Kelowna’s Journey Home board marks success

The board has added 6 members and has raised over $1 million

The Central Okanagan Journey Home Society continues to establish its home in the community and has announced the appointment of six new board members as well as surpassing the $1 million mark in its fundraising efforts to raise $2.7 million.

“The Society received an overwhelming response from the community to its call for board members,” says Gaelene Askeland, executive director of COJHS.

“The outcome is that our board includes a broad spectrum of community and business leaders who are dedicated to contributing their energy into implementing the Journey Home Strategy. They are a reflection of our community – the community that came together during the Journey Home process and vowed to work together to reach functional zero of homelessness by 2024.”

The new board members are Murray Bye, Josh Cairns, Ken Gauthier, Debbie Hubbard, Helen Jackman and Donna Jansons. They join founding board members Dave Krysko, Scott Lanigan, Diane Roy, Shane Worman and chair of the board, Dr. Kyleen Myrah, representatives from the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness, youth advocates and a number of ex-officio organization representatives and liaisons, including Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

READ MORE: Kelowna’s plan to end homelessness taking shape

“This is an accomplished and competent group who are excited to dive into the work of Journey Home,” said Myrah.

“Initially set up as a working board, we are asking for a significant commitment from the members, leveraging their talents for Journey Home every day. We are fortunate to have had such an outpouring of response from the community to assist, that we will be tapping into these volunteers to help with the extensive implementation strategies outlined in the plan.”

READ MORE: Kelowna’s new temporary shelter a success on first night

The community has stepped up and continued to ‘invest in people’ by supporting Journey Home. This has been demonstrated over and over again, most recently by an investment that has taken the total amount raised $1,092,678.

“We continue to work diligently to establish our goal of funding the Journey Home Society for the first five years of operation,” said Myrah.

For the remainder of 2019, the COJHS board will focus on a thorough mapping of services available in the city, including a gap analysis to determine what is missing; establish the COJHS day-to-day operations; build connections with provincial and federal governments and tap into all available resources as soon as possible; and create education around who experiences homelessness in our community and why.

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