Central Okanagan Wellness and Poverty Strategy

The Central Okanagan is embarking on a critical community-based project to develop and implement a Regional Wellness and Poverty Strategy. This strategy will identify priority areas of action to improve community wellness and decrease poverty, while engaging and empowering each community in the region to take action on their local priorities. Together with community partners, local governments, key stakeholders and citizens, the strategy will be developed through a variety of community engagement sessions which will be starting in the fall of 2020.

This work is made possible through a grant from the Union of BC Municipalities, applied for in partnership by the Regional District of the Central Okanagan on behalf of the District of Lake Country, District of Peachland, City of Kelowna and City of West Kelowna.

Why a Wellness and Poverty Strategy?

The available wellness and poverty data and insights for the Central Okanagan paint a challenging picture for many children, families and individuals who call our region home. Choosing between putting food on the table or paying rent is a monthly reality for many, and the stigma associated with poverty means people may hide their current situation. Our neighbors, friends and colleagues are isolated and silently struggling to make ends meet, a situation that has been made even worse by the COVID19 pandemic.

By the numbers

  • 15% of Central Okanagan residents currently live in poverty (A rate that jumps to almost 50% for lone-parent families)
  • 17% of children are living in poverty.  
  • 1 in 4 Central Okanagan renters are currently living in housing that is inadequate, unaffordable or not sustainable.
  • At least 376 people are experiencing homelessness in our communities.

Through consultations, our community has identified the need for a regional approach to complex social issues. A regional approach can build on existing work in the Central Okanagan, while also ensuring each community can still address their unique needs and priorities. Community wellness and poverty impacts us all, and a regional strategy will provide opportunities for our neighbors and fellow community members to thrive.

Join us in moving the Central Okanagan from poverty to possibility!

Stay Informed

Want to stay updated on the strategy development project, community engagement events and opportunities to get involved? Join the Wellness and Poverty Network by signing up here!

How Can I Get Involved?

CURRENT OPPORTUNITIES:

Central Okanagan Wellness and Poverty Leadership Committee

The Central Okanagan Wellness and Poverty Leadership Committee is responsible for the strategic leadership, oversight and endorsement of the Wellness and Poverty Strategy. The Leadership Committee will be comprised of a diverse group of individuals from across the Central Okanagan with a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience related to wellness, poverty and leadership.

Interested? Fill out the short application by clicking the link below. Applications are being accepted until Friday September 11th 2020.

Leadership Committee Application

OTHER OPPORTUNITIES – COMING SOON!

  • Community Action Teams (Fall 2020): Representing specific priority and focus areas of the Wellness and Poverty Strategy, these teams of local businesses, organizations and community members will provide critical knowledge and expertise in areas such as youth wellness, equity and inclusion, housing and homelessness, transportation, childcare, employment, food security and community engagement.
  • Engagement Sessions (Fall 2020-Spring 2021): Opportunities for discussion, strategy development and feedback around wellness and poverty in your community
  • Online Survey (Winter/Spring 2021)

Community Partners

We are grateful to the Union of BC Municipalities and Regional District of the Central Okanagan for the funding to drive this initiative and to our civic partners for collaborating with us.

Background on Wellness and Poverty Work in the Central Okanagan

In 2017, the Central Okanagan Poverty Reduction Committee (COPRC) was established with the goal of developing a regional poverty reduction strategy with an upstream focus. Supported by funding from the Vancouver Foundation and the Central Okanagan Early Years Partnership, the committee set the stage for a community-driven, regional approach to addressing poverty. The COPRC gathered insights from families with lived experience of poverty, provided a systems planning workshop and developed a work plan to guide strategy development. They also acquired funding for a Community Wellness Analysis in 2020, informed by lived experience and engagement from stakeholders across the region.

This analysis has provided key insights and baseline data about wellness and poverty in the region and served as a launching point to the development of a Central Okanagan Wellness and Poverty Strategy.

For more information on this work, click here.

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