Featured Research: Kelowna and the Okanagan

Kelowna and its surrounding area have – and continue to be – settings of interest for research on homelessness, housing, and the broader social support sector. In addition to promoting the research conducted under the banner of the KHRC [through our KHRC Publications & Presentations and KHRC Community Reports and Summaries pages], we’re also committed to supporting the dissemination of other local research related to our topic areas.

Below represents a snapshot of other academic and community research in the Okanagan over the years related to housing, homelessness, and the support sector, including:

  1. Journal Articles
  2. Reports & Books, and
  3. Dissertations

While the below table includes a range of BC Housing Research Centre reports, our Resources and Context on Homelessness page provides a more comprehensive collection of community resources related to current context of homelessness, including links to local strategy documents, community pages, and data (and at a national, provincial, and local level).

Note that this represents items attributable to Kelowna, or the Okanagan more broadly, by name. It is common for academic outputs to omit the names of settings in their abstracts, or to mask the location entirely. Additional collections of potential interest attributable to mid-sized cities more broadly are forthcoming.

Journal Articles

Note that the default setting is to show the first 10 entries. That can be changed below to see all items in this section.

COVID-19 and the Homelessness Support Sector: Perspectives on a Small Community’s Early Response to a Public Health CrisisBabando, J., Woodmass, K., & Graham, J.R.2022This exploratory study sought to uncover service provider perspectives on the early response to COVID-19 in a small community in an advanced industrialized country - the homelessness support sector of the Central Okanagan, British Columbia. Following a case study approach, snowball sampling was utilized in May and June 2020 to achieve a sample size of 30 through a mix of one-on-one interviews and open-ended surveys. Common themes are discussed in relation to three areas of questioning including challenges, successes, and mitigations/areas for future support. International Journal on Homelessness, 2(1), 1–16. LINK
Appropriately homeless and needy: Examining street homeless survival through the lens of Bourdieusian social capital theoryCook, S. & Hole, R.2020This research explores street homeless people's survival in the urban realm through their relationship with the system of homelessness services. Given the growing numbers and complexity of street homeless and their related health and social needs, and the increased competition for essential, life-sustaining resources, we examine how street homeless people get their support needs met through their social capital interactions with homelessness service providers.Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 30:7, 816-834. LINK
Fostering immigrant settlement and housing in small cities: Voices of settlement practitioners and service providers in British Columbia, Canada.Drolet, J. L., & Teixeira, C.2020A study was undertaken in Kelowna and Kamloops, two small cities in the interior of British Columbia (BC), Canada, to learn about immigrants’ settlement and housing experiences from the perspective of settlement practitioners and service providers. Unaffordable housing, limited employment opportunities, and language barriers were found to be the most significant challenges.The Social Science Journal (Fort Collins), 1-15. LINK
Settlement and housing experiences of recent immigrants in small- and mid-sized cities in the interior of British Columbia (Canada).Teixeira, C., & Drolet, J. L.2018This study considered immigrants’ settlement experiences, including their access to local services and their housing experiences and outcomes, in the cities of Kelowna and Kamloops, with a focus on the housing rental market, and reliance on community services. The results of the study include recommendations for improving immigrants’ settlement and integration in urban areas in the interior of British Columbia. Survey data were gathered between April and August 2015 from 80 recent immigrant renters in the cities of Kelowna (40) and in Kamloops (40).Journal of Housing and the Built Environment, 33(1), 19-43. LINK
Nudging NIMBY: Do positive messages regarding the benefits of increased housing density influence resident stated housing development preferences?Doberstein, C., Hickey, R., & Li, E.2016We employ an experimental research design to test the efficacy of positive messages regarding increased housing density to reduce observed NIMBYism (Not In My Back Yard). Using a survey-based experiment, we compared four messages: a notification of the public benefits; the private benefits; a social comparison drawing on expert knowledge of housing preferences; and a control stating recent trends in the municipality. Our sample of 202 residents of a mid-sized Canadian city indicates that messages regarding the public benefits of increased density reduced NIMBYism by four times the control message.Land use Policy, 54, 276-289. LINK
A clonal outbreak of tuberculosis in a homeless population in the interior of British Columbia, Canada, 2008-2015.Cheng, J. M., Hiscoe, L., Pollock, S. L., Hasselback, P., Gardy, J. L., & Parker, R.2015A tuberculosis (TB) case was reported May 2008 in Kelowna, British Columbia, leading to a multi-year outbreak in homeless persons. The epidemiological characteristics and social networks of cases are described.Epidemiology and Infection, 143(15), 3220-3226. LINK
Housing experiences of single mothers in Kelowna's rental housing market.Jones, A., & Teixeira, C.2015This exploratory study examines the housing experiences of single mothers in the rental housing market of Kelowna, British Columbia, a fast growing mid-size city with high housing costs. We draw on data from a survey of 30 low income single mothers and semi-structured interviews with 11 key informants to elaborate on the numerous barriers that some single mothers face in this rental housing market.Canadian Journal of Urban Research, 24(2), 117-137. LINK
Doing their "home" work: A case study of university of British Columbia Okanagan student youth rental housing experiences in the city of Kelowna.McEwan, J., & Teixeira, C.2012The major research questions guiding this study are: (i) What major barriers do postsecondary student youth face in finding affordable rental housing in Kelowna? (2) What coping strategies do postsecondary student youth use in Kelowna's expensive rental housing market? and (3) What recommendations can be made to benefit postsecondary student youth in their rental housing search processes?BC Studies, (173), 123. LINK
Finding a home of their own: Immigrant housing experiences in Central Okanagan, British Columbia, and policy recommendations for change.Teixeira, C.2011This study examines the housing experiences of immigrants in Vernon, Penticton, and Kelowna, using data from focus groups of new immigrants and interviews with key informants.Journal of International Migration and Integration, 12(2), 173-197. LINK
Urban-rural migration and health and quality of life in homeless people.Gray, D., Chau, S., Huerta, T., & Frankish, J.2011We examine experiences of 120 homeless men in Vancouver and Kelowna in relation to their mobility and its impact(s) on housing stability, health status and behaviours, health and social services.Journal of Social Distress and Homeless, 20(1-2), 75-93. LINK
Housing new Canadians in the Central Okanagan, British Columbia.Teixeira, C.2010Access to affordable housing is also subject to spatial biases and constraints such as discriminatory practices by urban gatekeepers (e.g., real estate agents, landlords, mortgage lenders) that affect new immigrants' housing options. Policy makers at the municipal, regional, and provincial (as well as federal) levels, in cooperation with the private sector and local community organizations, need to develop a range of strategies to meet the challenges of affordable housing in such complex mid-sized housing markets as those of Kelowna, Vernon, and Penticton.BC Studies, (168), 45. LINK
Housing regulations and living conditions of Mexican migrant workers in the Okanagan Valley, B.C.Tomic, P., Trumper, R., & Luis L M Aguiar.2010In this article, we address the growing importance of Canada’s Temporary Foreign Workers Program, contextualizing it within global political economy in terms of flexibility, racialization and genderization. We show the growing importance of temporary migrants in various labour markets and briefly explain that in the 21st century different processes for bringing in temporary migrants to Canada are being used as vehicles to privatize immigration and to further racialize and genderize it.Canadian Issues (Association for Canadian Studies : 1999), 78. LINK
New immigrant settlement in a mid-sized city: A case study of housing barriers and coping strategies in Kelowna, British Columbia.Teixeira, C.2009While Kelowna's real estate market is one of the most expensive in the country, there is little published data or literature on the housing experiences of immigrants in the city. This study examines the housing experiences and stresses of a small group of immigrants in Kelowna's rental housing market. This study uses data from five focus groups with 34 new immigrants and 20 interviews with key informants, conducted in Kelowna in summer 2008.The Canadian Geographer, 53(3), 323-339. LINK
Reaching out: On communication, community and crumbling brick walls.Keam, K.2007Three years ago I moved to Kelowna from East Vancouver. I struggled to feel at home in the Okanagan and missed the co-op housing community where I had raised my daughter. In the co-op I experienced the joy and comfort of affordable housing, neighbours who helped out with child care, sharing meals, celebrating holidays, mentorship and friendship.Visions (Vancouver), 4(1) LINK


Reports & Books

Note that the default setting is to show the first 10 entries. That can be changed below to see all items in this section.

Community Trends 2021 -- Housing unaffordability: Crisis or crossroads?City of Kelowna2022The Community Trends Report reflects on this topic of unaffordability by posing a few key questions: What is the state of housing in Kelowna today? How is affordability discussed and why does it matter? How can we change the conversation to be more productive? Will the housing system and the role of the actors need to evolve? As a local government, do we need to re-examine our role in housing affordability? LINK
Housing Assessment Resource Tools - Prototype: City of Kelowna and Findings of a National SurveyWhitzman et al. (Housing Research Collaborative)2021Without simple, robust, equity-focused, comparable and replicable housing need and land assessments at all levels of government, it is impossible to set meaningful housing targets, or measure progress towards this right. The Housing Assessment Resource Tools (HART) project aims to support the right to housing for all Canadians.LINK
Nowhere to Go: A Report from the Youth Homelessness Research ProjectWRH Consulting2021The City of Penticton applied for and was successful in receiving a grant from the Social Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC) in early 2020. The grant provided financial assistance to support the development of a community-led youth homelessness assessment and strategy to mitigate, and ultimately work to eliminate youth homelessness in the City of Penticton. LINK (p.154)
Complex Needs Advocacy PaperUrban Matters CCC2021With the increasing level of demand for housing and medical services, key stakeholders have acknowledged the immediate need for housing, health supports and resources allocated to clients with complex needs which can include mental health needs, alcohol and substance use dependency needs, FASD, developmental delays, and brain trauma injuries. Locally, in the Central Okanagan, the supply of housing opportunities and related supports for individuals with these types of needs is not readily available. The Complex Needs Advocacy Paper takes a regional approach and includes the perspectives and data from the City of Vernon, District of Lake Country, City of Kelowna, City of West Kelowna and Okanagan Indian Band. LINK
Mapping For Functional Zero: A Systems Approach Review of Kelowna’s Homeless Serving SectorCentral Okanagan Journey Home Society2021In addition to summarizing system planning priorities for the community, a summary of KPIs is presented, as well as an overview of process mapping efforts (including an account of diversion, outreach, shelter, housing, and healthcare / substance use treatment services).LINK
Hearthstone modular supportive housing resident outcomes: results at six months after openingBC Housing2020BC Housing has undertaken a review of the outcomes for residents of modular supportive housing units across the province six months after building opening. This report highlights key outcomes for residents of Hearthstone in Kelowna, B.C. Hearthstone provides 46 units for individuals experiencing homelessness or at risk of homelessness.LINK
Central Okanagan Community Wellness AnalysisUrban Matters CCC2020In response to the lack of regional and community-specific data around poverty, the Central Okanagan Poverty Reduction Committee pursued the development of a regional poverty analysis. With support from the Vancouver Foundation, United Way SIBC, the City of Kelowna and the District of Lake Country, the committee partnered with Urban Matters CCC to develop the Central Okanagan Community Wellness Analysis. The analysis provides data on key wellness and poverty indicators for the Central Okanagan and also provides a profile for each of the communities within the region. LINK
Dedicated-Site Supportive Housing SROI Case Study Series: Cardington Apartments, KelownaBC Housing2018Cardington Apartments is a supportive housing building in Kelowna operated by the John Howard Society, Central & South Okanagan. It was the first supportive housing site in Kelowna and it provides safe and affordable housing with supports for single men and women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. This case study used the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to demonstrate the social and economic value created by investing in dedicated-site supportive housing.LINK
SROI Analysis: The Social and Economic Value of Dedicated-Site Supportive Housing in B.C.BC Housing2018This study explores the social return on investment (SROI) of operating dedicated-site supportive housing in B.C. Five dedicated-site supportive housing programs receiving investment from BC Housing were examined as case studies. They included: The Budzey Building, Vancouver; Cardington Apartments, Kelowna; The Kettle on Burrard, Vancouver; Queens Manor, Victoria; and Wesley Street, Nanaimo.LINK
Scattered-Site Supportive Housing SROI Case Study Series: Canadian Mental Health Association, KelownaBC Housing2018Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) Kelowna offers scattered-site supportive housing in Kelowna. Scattered-site supportive housing programs assist individuals experiencing - or at risk of experiencing - homelessness in transitioning from the streets, shelters, or inadequate housing to long-term housing stability in the community. This case study used the Social Return on Investment (SROI) methodology to demonstrate the social and economic value created by investing in scattered-site supportive housing.LINK
SROI Analysis: The Social and Economic Value of Scattered-Site Supportive Housing in B.C.BC Housing2018This study explores the social return on investment (SROI) of operating scattered-site supportive housing in B.C. Five scattered-site supportive housing programs receiving investment from BC Housing were examined as case studies. They included: CMHA Kelowna, Kelowna; CMHA Mid-island Branch, Nanaimo; Lookout Housing and Health Society, Surrey; MPA Society, Vancouver; and Pacifica Housing, Victoria.LINK
Small cities, big issues: Reconceiving community in a neoliberal eraWalmsley, Chistopher, & Kading, Terry.2018This book examines the origins of the homelessness crisis in Canada and its impact on small cities. We focus, in particular, on four small cities in British Columbia—Kamloops, Kelowna, Nanaimo, and Prince George—all of which have been obliged to embark on social planning initiatives in the face of growing homeless populations.LINK
Redevelopment Case Study Series: Pleasantvale Housing, KelownaBC Housing2018The Rotary Club had operated housing for low-income seniors in Kelowna since 1957. The club could no longer operate the site, which needed major repairs, so Pleasantvale Homes Society took it over. To access funds for redevelopment, the society sold the land to BC Housing, which also acquired adjoining City-owned land. The redeveloped site has units for low-income seniors in a four-storey building and townhouses for low- and moderate-income families.LINK
Indigenous Housing Series: Ki-Low-Na Friendship SocietyBC Housing2018Ki-Low-Na Friendship Society manages the Family Den (FD) program, an Indigenous family-based transition housing program providing a range of supports. The FD program assists urban-Indigenous families in crisis that are currently involved, or at risk of being involved, with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Parents and children are able to safely stay together in a semi-supervised, substance-free home.LINK
Community Acceptance Series: Cardington Apartments, KelownaBC Housing2018Cardington Apartments in Kelowna opened in 2008 and has 30 self-contained units providing supportive housing development for adults who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, managing mental health and addiction challenges. This case study explores concerns that were raised about the site and the strategies used to gain community acceptance.LINK
Community Acceptance Series: Property Values Supplement - Cardington Apartments, KelownaBC Housing2018This case study supplement explores the impact of supportive housing on property values in the surrounding area.LINK
The Changing Image of Affordable Housing: Design, Gentrification and Community in Canada and EuropeMaschaykh, Ulduz2015This book features a range of case studies of affordable housing options in Canada, including a summary of the Willowbridge Transitional Housing in the Okanagan. It examines the liveability and affordability of twenty-first-century residential architecture. LINK
Family Homelessness in Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nelson and Nanaimo: Final ReportSocial Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC)2014Family homelessness represents a significant challenge in many communities. This research seeks to fill a critical gap in our knowledge about family homelessness and the different types of coping strategies adopted by vulnerable families and individuals who find themselves without a safe, secure place to live. LINK
Knowledge for Action: Hidden homelessness in Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nelson and Nanaimo: Research ReportSocial Planning and Research Council of BC (SPARC BC)2011The goal of this research project is to develop a better understanding of the hidden homeless populations in five (5) smaller urban centres in British Columbia: Prince George, Kamloops, Kelowna, Nelson, and Nanaimo.LINK
Homeless Outreach Practises in BC Communities (Volume 2: Outreach Program Profiles)BC Housing2011Includes a community progiles on Kelowna and the Ki‐Low‐Na Friendship Society's Homeless Outreach Program.LINK
Social Housing Policy for Homeless Canadian YouthChau, Shirley B.Y., & Gawliuk, M. 2009Chapter 3.3 included a case on a youth within the Central Okanagan, chronically his journey through addiction, the child welfare system, and the youth shelter system. LINK
Building Knowledge: Housing Project Profiles - Apple Valley, KelownaBC HousingThis study outlines the Apple Valley (Kelowna) mixed-use residential and commercial strata development project which provided 72 rental housing units for low- to moderate-income seniors and people with disabilities. The project was part of a joint Seniors’ Rental Housing initiative between the governments of Canada and B.C. to create 1,000 new affordable housing units in 40 communities.LINK



Note that the default setting is to show the first 10 entries. That can be changed below to see all items in this section.

Better to be paranoid than sorry" : women's housing experiences in the city of KelownaVrabic, Kaylah2020This study focuses on the barriers and challenges that women experience when locating affordable rental housing in the city of Kelowna, one of Canada's most expensive housing markets. This study also pays close attention to women’s housing preferences and concerns. The coping strategies employed by women to overcome the barriers present in the rental housing market are also examined.LINK
Making do with less : the housing experiences of single mothers in Kelowna's rental housing marketJones, Amanda Gloria2014The purpose of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences of single mothers in the City of Kelowna. More specifically, it focuses on the barriers and challenges faced by single mothers during their search for rental housing in the city, as well as the strategies they employ in order to deal with these challenges. This paper also makes recommendations for improving the rental housing experiences of single mothers in the future. LINK
A group at risk : a case study of the rental housing experiences and coping strategies of single mothers in Kelowna earning above the government subsidy benchmarkSanbrooks, Lauren Victoria2015The main objective of this study is to assess the barriers single mothers earning above the subsidy benchmark face when trying to locate affordable rental housing in Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada. Particular attention is focused on the coping strategies these single mothers use when trying to locate affordable rental housing.LINK
"Sorry, already rented" : a case study of the housing experiences of immigrant women in the mid-size city of KelownaKarl, Francisca2013 Since very little research has been conducted on the settlement experiences of immigrant women in such cities, the purpose of this study is to examine the rental housing experiences of immigrant women in the mid-size city of Kelowna, the heart of the Okanagan Valley. More specifically, it focuses on the barriers and challenges immigrant women face when trying to find housing in one of Canada’s most expensive rental housing markets. LINK
Aging gracefully : a case study of seniors in Kelowna's housing marketBrown, Heather Catherine2013This thesis explores the most salient housing issues experienced by seniors as homeowners and renters living in the city of Kelowna, British Columbia, known as one of the most expensive housing markets in Canada. Barriers and challenges in obtaining and maintaining their housing, housing affordability, and aging-in-place are the primary issues discussed. Avenues for further research are also addressed. LINK
White picket fences : whiteness, urban Aboriginal women and housing market discrimination in Kelowna, British ColumbiaLewis, Sheila Elaine2010This thesis analyses hegemonic whiteness as a socio-spatial structure and discursive formation, and the way that whiteness interlocks with other axes of identity, such as class and gender, to affect accessibility to the housing market for urban Aboriginal women in Kelowna, BC, Canada.LINK
In tuition : a case study of UBCO student youth rental housing experiences in the City of KelownaMcEwan, Jamie Gordon2010The purpose of this thesis is to conduct a case study of the University of British Columbia Okanagan’s student youth (ages 18–29) rental housing experiences in the City of Kelowna, British Columbia. Kelowna features high rental costs and low rental vacancy rates. The rental housing problems that Kelowna currently faces have been acknowledged by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the local government, and the local media.LINK
Barriers to immigrants seeking housing in a mid-sized city : a case study of visible minorities in Kelowna's housing marketOh, John Doo Jin2010The purpose of this study is to examine the housing experiences of visible minority immigrants in the mid-sized city of Kelowna, British Columbia. In particular, it focuses on the challenges and barriers visible minority immigrants face in one of Canada’s most expensive housing markets. The role of race as a factor in the housing experience of these immigrants is also examined.LINK
Locating Optimal Affordable Housing Sites: A Determination of Potential Site Locations for New Affordable Housing Units using Multi-criteria Analysis: A Case Study of Kelowna, British ColumbiaPoholka, Holli2011Housing affordability is problematic in the Canadian context for two main reasons: income inequality and the lack of available low cost affordable rental units. This is specifically true in the case of Kelowna, a medium sized city located in the southern interior of British Columbia (western Canada). The purpose of this study is to determine which socioeconomic and physical criterion are related to affordable housing placement and to assess and execute a GIS strategy that best integrates the determined criteria in order to find the best optimal sites to locate potential affordable housing units.LINK
Living with HIV and navigating the work of food security in Kelowna, Canada : an institutional ethnographyPicotte, Heather2014Using institutional ethnographic methodology, this dissertation explores how 12 people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) go about maintaining food security in Kelowna, a small urban centre in southern British Columbia. Food acts as a lens through which a variety of issues are experienced; these include low income, poor health, and lack of mobility and social support. LINK
In the shelter of each other: Supporting the development of non-profit rental housing in British ColumbiaKowalski, Eric Lloyd2002The document examines the development of Canadian housing policy from its inception in the 1930s to its present configuration to understand how the non-profit sector assumed its prominent housing role. It defines the challenges facing non-profit housing development and identifies a range of federal, provincial and municipal programs and practices that support such development. Results of key informant interviews with non-profit sector and institutional representatives in the two study communities of Kamloops and Kelowna are combined with the findings of the literature review to assess the degree to which existing government support has been adequate. LINK
Exploring the frontline: Improving a residential program to better serve concurrent disordered clientsRae, Candice2007This research project explored how a residential rehabilitative housing program could
enhance service provision to clients living with concurrent mental illness and addiction.
Stakeholders were the housing staff and their program manager, clients, the Kelowna Mental
Health Center, the psychiatric unit, and A&DS.