The City of Kelowna has entered the race to win a $10-million grant that would fund a data-driven approach to create more diverse housing opportunities.
The Smart Cities Challenge is a federal government competition open to all municipalities, local or regional governments, and indigenous communities across Canada. The goal of the challenge is to empower communities to address local issues residents face through new partnerships, using a smart cities approach.
The goal is to deliver a more balanced housing market by diversifying the range of affordable and attainable housing options to reduce the risk of homelessness in our community
“The theme of Kelowna’s submission couldn’t be more timely as it centers around addressing housing vulnerability and homelessness,” says Mayor Colin Basran. “The goal is to deliver a more balanced housing market by diversifying the range of affordable and attainable housing options to reduce the risk of homelessness in our community. It’s great to see such a dynamic group of community partners pull together to address this important community issue.”
Collaborating with community partners, the City of Kelowna proposes the creation of data sharing and connected technology tools that make it easy to collect and analyze data from Kelowna’s complex housing and homeless-serving systems. These tools will allow policy makers to foresee future challenges and test the effects of proposed measures before implementing them in the real world. This information will offer our community the potential to achieve a more stable and diverse housing market, break down silos among service providers, and develop strong partnerships for greater success.
“In conjunction with these partnerships and incentives, we have an opportunity to develop a system that can have a long-term influence on what kind of housing we build to serve a variety of needs and incomes,” said Ken Gauthier, President of Urban Matters CCC (Community Contribution Company).
Through the Smart Cities proposal, predictive modeling and data analytics will provide a more complete and realistic view of our community’s constantly changing needs and transform how service delivery decisions are made. The project is closely tied to the Journey Home Strategy, currently under development. In its work, the Journey Home Task Force has identified a key barrier to ending homelessness is easily connecting the right people to the right service at the right time. Our hope is that a model like this can be used in communities across the country facing similar housing and homelessness challenges.
“Technology can help to address real challenges. This plan is a result of needs and potential solutions identified by social service communities, development professionals, tech entrepreneurs, and those with lived experience,” said Raghwa Gopal, CEO at Accelerate Okanagan. “Our hope is that a model like this can be used in communities across the country facing similar housing and homelessness challenges.”
Five finalists will be selected from each prize category, and those communities will be announced sometime this summer.
To stay informed on the progress of the challenge or to view the full application, visit Kelowna.ca