As a CCC, Urban Matters is required to re-invest a percentage of our profit back into community innovation ventures. That means we don’t only work on solutions, we live and reinvest in the communities where we work.
In 2019, we had $40,000 available for a community contribution investment and chose to invest this money to the newly formed PEOPLE Employment Services. PEOPLE Employment Services (PEOPLE) is a Kelowna-based social enterprise that provides training, mentorships, and partnerships that lead to paid employment opportunities for people who use drugs and for people with lived/living experience of homelessness. Creating employment opportunities is widely recognized as a critical building block in helping to support this group and further reduce the incidents of homelessness.
“My favourite feature of the PEOPLE story is how it really exercised our muscles throughout our value chain. From supporting open-ended community-based dialogue around opioid response at a community scale to the Kelowna Community Action Team, to supporting the conversation through research and the development employment opportunities, through to social enterprise development and incubation,” says Erin Welk of Urban Matters.
Erin Welk and City of Kelowna Councillor Loyal Wooldridge distributing graduation certificate to a PEOPLE program participant.
Since 2018, Urban Matters CCC has been supporting the incubation of PEOPLE as a social enterprise. We’ve assisted with launching the initiative, designing a sustainable business model, developing partnerships and exploring suitable incorporation models. The $40,000 will be used to help hire the Executive Director. As the new ED, Dhorea Ramanula is already fast at work establishing basic infrastructure to support this enterprise such as new employment contracts for peers and the training programs essential to their success.
“We fully expect that PEOPLE will be a national platform in five years, working with peers across the country to help to bridge thousands of individuals back into sustainable livelihoods,” says Welk.
We’re incredibly proud of how the program has grown. PEOPLE is now its own non-profit entity and the contribution will help with the transition to independency.
For more visit the PEOPLE website.