Kelowna's Journey Home takes another step forward; strong homeless advocate coming on board - InfoNews

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Kelowna's Journey Home takes another step forward; strong homeless advocate coming on board

Gaelene Askeland will become executive director of Kelowna's Journey Home in February 2019.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/Journey Home
December 14, 2018 - 12:22 PM

KELOWNA - Hiring Gaelene Askeland as Journey Home’s point person is one more milestone for a team pushing forward with its efforts to help homeless people in Kelowna.

Askeland will leave her position as executive director of the John Howard Society in Kelowna to take on that role with the Journey Home Society in early February.

“We’ve given her a good amount of time,” Dr. Kyleen Myrah, co-chair of the Journey Home Transition Team, told iNFOnews.ca. “She wanted to be able to ensure there was a solid succession plan in place.”

Askeland was on the original Journey Home task force but was one of only two members who did not continue with the transition team that is setting up a society to carry on with efforts to improve the life of homeless people in the region.

Myrah said Askeland had her hands full with a number of supportive housing projects that the John Howard Society is operating, or will be operating, and needed to concentrate her efforts on those operations.

Journey Home started as a task force initiated by the City of Kelowna. It produced a homeless strategy last summer, then continued on to secure office space and raise funds to operate independently of the city in an effort to coordinate efforts of multiple agencies, to provide education about homelessness and help those in need.

Five members of the transition team will continue on as board members of the new society and it will add another five board members from a multitude of applicants, Myrah said.

The deadline for applying to be a board member is at midnight tomorrow, Dec. 15 and you can apply here at kelowna.ca/journeyhome. While only five positions are available, Myrah said there will be lots of subcommittee work for people to slot into.

Myrah wants the board in place and a systems coordinator hired to assist Askeland before she starts the job. She also wants the bulk of the society’s fundraising done before February.

The goal is to raise $2.7 million to fund the society. To date they have raised $900,000, including $150,000 from the city. The rest has come from individual and business organizations, agencies and fundraising events.

There have also been numerous community presentations and events that have kept the volunteers very busy so they are looking forward to having full-time staff to help with those efforts.

“Gaelene will be the point person,” Myrah said. “She’s an advocate. She’s a convenor. She’s working to help people access the system. Coordination (with other agencies) is a critical piece.”


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