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Kelowna group seeking unique answers to solving housing crisis

Rick Ozaki will facilitate the hackathon.
Image Credit: Submitted/Accelerate Kelowna

No one questions the fact that the Okanagan, and particularly Kelowna, has an affordable housing problem.

It’s the fourth most expensive major Canadian city for rents and has some of the priciest real estate around.

READ MORE: One-bedroom rental rates jump in Kamloops, Kelowna and likely to go higher

Accelerate Okanagan is looking for creative ideas on how to address the problem with a one-day affordable housing hackathon.

“Local communities are experiencing a rapid increase in housing challenges, including supply and demand, rising costs, new housing starts, community planning, and more,” states a news release from Accelerate Okanagan. “The impacts of these challenges are far-reaching and affect not only current Okanagan residents but future residents and the sustainability of living in the Okanagan Valley. Solving these complex challenges will require individuals from different backgrounds to come together in unique ways.”

READ MORE: Housing prices take big jump in Kamloops, South Okanagan, not so much in Kelowna

The hackathon concept will break participants into teams who, through a process called “Design Thinking,” which will “bring ideas to life in a matter of hours.”

The session is on June 23 in the Innovation Centre in downtown Kelowna. Participants can sign up here.

“This event is open to all who are interested in developing an innovative mindset and building creative solutions to a critical challenge faced by our community,” the news release says. “You don’t need to be a coder or work in IT to participate in a hackathon. In fact, the most successful concepts are generated when teams have a diverse set of skills, perspectives and backgrounds.”

At the end of the day, each team will pitch its ideas and a winner will be chosen. Community members can attend just to hear the pitches and keynote speaker, Paula Quinn of KF Aerospace.

The hackathon starts at 9 a.m. Pitches can be heard from 5-7:30 p.m.

“Hackathons are a great opportunity to collaborate and build new connections in the community,” Alex Goodhew, community manager at Accelerate Okanagan, said in the news release. “Whether you are working in the housing industry, a current resident of the Okanagan, or you’re new to the area and want to expand your network, this is an excellent opportunity to plug in. The teamwork I see at these events is really inspiring.”

Accelerate Okanagan held similar events last winter that focused on climate change and waste. The winner of the challenge to eliminate waste, for example, came up with the idea of a food co-op program that would create a localized self-sustainable supply chain.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Rob Munro or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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