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Kelowna Homelessness Research Collaborative launches Phase II of new project

Okanagan College Media Release

Okanagan College duo Kerry Rempel and Kyleen Myrah launched phase two of a new research project in conjunction with the Kelowna Homelessness Research Collaborative. This collective brings together Okanagan College, UBC Okanagan, Interior Health and the Central Okanagan Journey Home Society. The second of three phases, this session built on research from Phase I conducted in late January. The two sessions gave those with lived experience and social service providers an opportunity to share and discuss ideas around homelessness. 

The project, which is funded through a grant from the Vancouver Foundation, looks to connect researchers with the community to understand vulnerability around homelessness. In short, what makes people vulnerable to housing instability? 

“We wanted to get a grounding of what vulnerability looks like from a Kelowna perspective,” says Rempel. “We want to highlight the Kelowna context on homelessness which is different from other communities. What is also unique about our project is that the outcome of all of this isn’t just to report our findings to the academic world for use in future research, but to create a how-to guide for other communities looking to bring community and researchers together.”

The first workshop revealed a common thread of systemic and societal problems that often contribute to a downward spiral towards homelessness. The applied nature of the research and output also invites those with lived experience to take part in various stages of the project, including the analysis to help steer the work. 

“With this project, we are trying to embed the tenets around community engaged research and have participants guide where we’re going. Nothing is prescriptive.”

The final phase acts as an invitation and launching pad for researchers to collaborate with the community to identify proactive steps to combatting homelessness.