Want to help the homeless in Kelowna? Send Journey Home an email first | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Want to help the homeless in Kelowna? Send Journey Home an email first

Image Credit: FILE PHOTO
September 16, 2019 - 6:31 PM

KELOWNA - There are 360 organizations that are trying to help the homeless in Kelowna.

That’s one statistic Kelowna city council was given by the Journey Home society during an update on Monday, Sept. 16. That statistic also means there is duplication and anyone new wanting to join in may not actually be helping.

“There’s lots of support in the community for different initiatives,” Journey Home director Shane Worman told council. “Lots of faith groups, lots of others that are doing things but are they doing the right things?"

“For example, do we need a certain organization – this isn’t a real example - to focus on handing out blankets. They spend a lot of time and effort doing that but if we figure out a system and how that system works, maybe we can go to that group and say, hey, what we actually need is for somebody to drive a shuttle that will help these guys get to appointments. So, it’s refocussing some of the energy in the community.”

Councillor Mohini Singh said that a group at Kelowna’s Sikh Temple is working on a project to take a food truck downtown to feed the homeless and wondered if that is a good thing or not.

“Doing random things that don’t fit into the system is actually less helpful than doing something thought out,” Worman said. “So, if they’re thinking of doing something, we’ll find them a home for their efforts.”

He assured Singh that didn’t mean a food program wouldn’t work, but it needed to be vetted to determine what kind of program would work best.

“There is a great, great amount of generous support that’s available in this community,” he said. “It’s just being able to send it in the right direction so it supports the system. When we look back, when we started, 80 some groups in the community were trying to work on this problem. There’s got to be overlap there. If we can eliminate the overlap and become more efficient in how we deliver something, we’re going to have a better system.”

So, before launching a new helping initiative, it’s suggested people email info@journeyhome.ca.

One of the “system” improvements Worman is heading up is Winter Mat Planning. Rather than waiting for homeless shelters to become overcrowded this winter then waiting for B.C. Housing to jump in with some solution, he’s drafting a plan to present to B.C. Housing in advance to avoid a crisis situation.

“We have some great ideas,” Worman said. “Will we get them funded or not is the question.”

The City has plans in place to deal with things like floods and fires, he noted, so there should also be a plan to deal with emergency shelters.

That plan may not mean many changes this coming winter but Worman hopes to have a system in place for significant improvements for the following winter.

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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