12 March 2019

Urban Matters CCC President joins the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society’s inaugural board of directors

On March 11th, the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society (COJHS) issued a press release announcing six additional board members will be joining COJHS’s inaugural board of directors. We are proud to share that Urban Matters CCC President Ken Gauthier is one of them.

COJHS’s Executive Director, Gaelene Askeland, says they received an “overwhelming response from the community to its call for board members” and “the outcome is that our board includes a broad spectrum of community and business leaders who are dedicated to contributing their energy into implementing the Journey Home Strategy. They are a reflection of our community – the community that came together during the Journey Home process and vowed to work together to reach functional zero of homelessness by 2024.”

Convene, Consult, Create

Urban Matters and Urban Systems have a long-standing relationship with COJHS and have contributed to both the founding and development of the organization.

Martin Bell, Urban Systems CEO, was on the task force that founded the organization in 2017. Following this, Urban Matters CCC contributed $12,000 to supporting the cost of COJHS’s office space for the first two years of operations. With Ken Gauthier on the board, expertise from Urban Matters CCC will continue to contribute to the implementation of the Journey Home strategy.

Ken Gauthier sees his new role as a board member as “an opportunity to continue to support homelessness initiatives at home in Kelowna while deepening important community connections. As part of a company deeply invested in the wellbeing of communities across the country, I see this role as an opportunity to share my learnings as I continue to learn.”

Reflecting on the progress Kelowna has made through this strategy, Gauthier is keen to see multi-stakeholder strategies continue to develop in other communities across Canada.

“Only by approaching housing challenges from an angle that values all perspectives, recognizes the specificities of local and lived expertise, and values long-term strategies that address systemic barriers, can we affect meaningful change,” says Gauthier.

Contributing to a strong team

Ken Gauthier will join forces with new board members, Murray Bye, Josh Cairns, Debbie Hubbard, Helen Jackman and Donna Jansons and founding board members, Dave Krysko, Scott Lanigan, Diane Roy, Shane Worman, and Dr. Kyleen Myrah. The COJHS board will work with representatives from the Lived Experience Circle on Homelessness, youth advocates and a number of other stakeholders, including Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran.

Together the board and local representatives “will work on implementing the strategies outlined in the Journey Home plan: “for the remainder of 2019, the COJHS board will focus on a thorough mapping of services available in the City, including a gap analysis to determine what is missing; establish the COJHS day-to-day operations; build connections with provincial and federal governments and tap into all available resources as soon as possible; and create education around who experiences homelessness in our community and why.”

Additional Information:

Feature image credit: Bob Mack, Urban Systems (Journey Home Community Report)

Photos of Erin Welk, Jade Arignon, and Jen Casorso