Following community backlash and protests after attempts to find the Kelowna’s homeless population a place to sleep, the city is changing its approach to create broader community awareness of the issue.
The Community Inclusion Model, headed by Community Safety Director Darren Caul, will attempt to educate residents in affected neighbourhoods about supportive housing projects.
The model seeks to enhance community engagement, accessibility and transparency; ensure an intentional approach to assess, remediate and respond to community safety issues; and enable and ensure a coordinated and strategic approach among partnering agencies.
A report outlining the goals of the new model is headed to city council on Monday.
The report comes in anticipation of the opening of two new supportive housing sites in the spring, Samuel Place on Fifth supportive housing project approved in Rutland Road in Rutland and Stephen Village on Aggasiz Road.
As part of community outreach, media and city council tours are planned for each facility, as well as meetings with concerned neighbours and implementation of community advisory committees to hold regular meetings.
A community safety committee made up of local law enforcement is also planned to both monitor the area and find ways to minimize crime in the surrounding areas.
The city is implementing the model beginning Feb. 25, with meetings in Kelowna’s downtown north end.
“The north end downtown, an area that has experienced change with the addition of temporary overnight outdoor sites, temporary bridge housing and a winter sheltering program, was identified as a key area to help further inform and shape the community inclusion model and approach,” reads part of the report headed to council.