HAPPY 2018!

Thanks for joining us in our first blog post of 2018!  At Piers we are super excited as to what this year will hold for our clients and community partners.  We are optimistic that the year will be a successful one in the work we do, given our province’s commitment to Poverty Reduction.  We plan to be involved proactively in this initiative, through our day to day work and involvement in our communities.

In 2017, we collaborated and came up with a list of topics we hoped to blog about, including community partnerships, mental health and addiction, victims of violence, the labour market,   immigration, housing and Housing First, youth, lifeskills, motivational interviewing, and changing technology.  It was interesting to look back at our blogs for the year, and see which were most popular.  The clear winner for 2017 was our post entitled “A Future for Youth, a Plan of Action”.   This blog was written by a talented wordsmith who wishes to remain unnamed, but might be the only male Piers has employed at YM/YWCA’s WorkBC in Penticton!   The increased interest in this blog may speak to the fact that today’s youth are tech savvy, and that many of our readers may fall into the youth category and be more often on the internet, or, that youth are seeking new opportunity given our community and province’s dynamic commitment to youth in terms of support and employment.  Or, could it be that the writer is just really good??

In terms of housing, Kelowna has moved forward with BC Housing/CMHA’s Housing First Program, and has developed a Housing Task Force through the city of Kelowna whose goal is the following:

“The Journey Home Task Force supports the development of a long-term strategy to address homelessness. The name “Journey Home” reinforces the importance of shifting from traditional methods to a new approach of addressing the needs of those at risk of homelessness.

The process for developing the Journey Home strategy is designed to be community-driven and inclusive, representing a variety of voices including those with the lived experience of homelessness.  The goal is to build a long-term strategy to prevent homelessness whenever possible; and if it does occur, to have a coordinated approach that will help to ensure it is rare, short-lived and non-reoccurring.

As per the Terms of Reference, the Task Force will report to Council and is supported by Active Living & Culture Division staff. Dr. Kyleen Myrah and Martin Bell are Co-Chairs for the Journey Home Task Force, which will run for approximately one year, concluding in June 2018. 

Members represent a wide diversity in sector-representation, skills and knowledge areas including: lived experience, first-hand knowledge of service navigation, health and support services, housing development and provision, and funding.” –City of Kelowna

As an active homelessness service provider for the past 12 years, we are optimistic as to the achievements this committee will accomplish this year, and look forward to continued partnerships working towards ending homelessness in Kelowna. For more information around the Journey Home Task Force or to learn how to get involved, check out the information on the City of Kelowna’s website, at https://www.kelowna.ca and search Journey Home.

Looking forward to 2018, we are very excited to see the steps our new government and the province will be taking around addressing Poverty Reduction, such as integrating Povery Reduction solutions in to the new WorkBC Employment Program of British Columbia’s Model in 2019.  The work has begun with the Province holding community forums, increasing supports to Income Assistance recipients, continuing to provide excellent employment programs and apprenticeship opportunities, and providing skills training for BC residents.

In closing, Piers would like to wish you all a healthy and prosperous 2018.  We look forward to continued blogging and working with all of you this year!

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