Kelowna homeless head count results out soon

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KELOWNA - A count of Kelowna’s homeless, kept secret in advance to ensure accuracy, took place a couple of weeks ago.

Community entity coordinator Mia Burgess, from the Central Okanagan Foundation, organized the homeless count Feb. 24 and said it unfolded smoothly.

“It went really well, yes, we had lots of support from the local agencies and UBC Okanagan,” Burgess says.

Kelowna is one of 30 urban areas across Canada selected for the coordinated point-in-time count, funded under the federal homelessness partnering strategy, a program of Employment and Social Development Canada.

Results aren’t yet available Burgess says, but will be released to the media in a couple of weeks. They hope to take the findings to Kelowna city council in a presentation as soon as possible.

Local social service agencies as well as Kelowna bylaw officers and RCMP say they have noticed a surge of street homelessness since 2014.

Kelowna city councillors, lead by Mayor Colin Basran, have declared homelessness an issue the city wants to become more involved in and recently hired a homelessness coordinator to help local agencies better coordinate their efforts, while also pushing for federal and provincial funding and grants.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald at or call 250-808-0143. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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