How did the project get started?

Collaboration in Kelowna has been growing as service providers in the social sector face the realities of cuts to government spending, the impact that a recession has on donations and corporate partnerships, and the ever increasing needs in the community. New and existing groups have stepped up to provide additional services or expand on what exists to try to address community issues.

What began as two separate conversations in the community, grew to a collaboration between local and national funders and post-secondary institutions.

Initial Conversations:

Enter Central Okanagan Foundation (COF): COF is currently the community entity tasked with dispersing the Federal Funding through the Homelessness Partnership Strategy (HPS). As part of the role of COF, the sit on the local Community Advisory Board on Homelessness (CAB-H) in Kelowna. Early in 2016, CAB-H identified that keeping track of the unique offerings of all homeless housing providers was at times a difficult task. While BC Housing maintained an excellent list of some of the housing providers, the list was not all inclusive. Kelowna Community Resources (KCR) also hosted a database which listed many housing providers. The database was widely used by the community, but did not provide the more detailed information that would assist the community or service providers in narrowing their searches.

COF contacted researchers at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan (UBC-O) to see if they could suggest a way that technology might support the members of the CAB-H and the community to simplify access to information.

United Way of the Central and South Okanagan Similkameen (UW-CSO): In early 2016, the UW-SCO was interested in supporting research that would help to grow and build capacity in the community. The Executive Director at the time met with a researcher from Okanagan College (OC) to discuss their mutual interest in mapping community assets around homelessness servicing organizations.

First of it’s Kind Collaboration:

The funder community in Kelowna works very closely and both COF and UW-CSO quickly determined that there was overlap and consistency in the work both groups were interested in pursuing. A core team quickly formed between COF and UW-CSO and the two post-secondary institutions UBCO and OC. A community development research project was born and currently resides within the Centre for Community Engaged Research housed out of UBC-O.

The collaboration is first of its kind in the community as it brings together researchers and students from both post-secondary institutions to tackle a community concern. What do we hope to achieve?

About

The funder community in Kelowna works very closely, and both COF and UW-CSO quickly determined that there was overlap and consistency in the work both groups were interested in pursuing. A core team quickly formed between COF and UW-CSO and the two post-secondary institutions UBCO and OC. A community development research project was born and currently resides within the Institute for Community Engaged Research (ICER) housed out of UBCO.

The research team was successful in securing core funding for the project through two university-based funders, Mitacs and the Innovations in Wellness Fund.

The collaboration is the first of its kind in the community, bringing together researchers and students from both post-secondary institutions to tackle a community concern. With the goal of developing an on-line spatial database of housing and related services for homeless people that is accessible to anyone in need, the research team has worked closely with the homeless serving sector and broader homelessness stakeholders throughout the length of the project.

Now that database, called i-Search Kelowna, has been developed, its use will be evaluated through direct user input and system generated data. Results of the evaluation will be posted on i-Search Kelowna in Fall 2017.

Partners and Funders

UBC Okanagan


Nick Blackwell

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Okanagan College


Nick Blackwell

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The Spice Lab


Nick Blackwell

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United Way


Nick Blackwell

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Mitacs


Nick Blackwell

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Central Okanagan
Foundation


Nick Blackwell

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Innovations in
Wellness Fund


Nick Blackwell

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Institute for Community
Engaged Research


Nick Blackwell

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GeoThink


Nick Blackwell

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Research Team

To find out more about this project, how it was created and implemented, or to learn more about he technology used to create the mapping tool, please contact a member of the research team.

♣ Shelley Cook, PhD Candidate - UBCO
♣ Kerry Rempel, Professor – Okanagan College
♣ Dr. Jon Corbett, Associate Professor – UBCO
♣ Dr. Rachelle Hole, Associate Professor - UBCO
♣ Stephanie Nagy, Research Assistant – UBCO
♣ Brooks Hewko, Research Assistant – Okanagan College