Cross sector experts gather to tackle local housing challenges at “Home Sweet Home” Summit in Kelowna

February 21, 2024

Kelowna, BC – February 21, 2024- As part of the ongoing efforts to address the housing gap in the Central Okanagan, the “Home Sweet Home: Locally Made Solutions to Fix the Housing Gap” summit is scheduled to take place on Friday, March 1st in Kelowna. This collaborative, action-oriented summit, presented by Interior Savings (a trade name of Beem Credit Union), aims to explore innovative approaches to housing development, with a focus on “Missing Middle Housing,” housing that includes duplexes, row houses, and townhomes that can provide a pathway to home ownership.

“Bringing together experts from various sectors signifies our collective dedication to finding tangible solutions for the housing challenges in our local communities.” says Krista Paine, President of the Canadian Home Builders Association – Central Okanagan. “By fostering collaboration and innovation, we aim to bridge the housing gap and make homeownership more attainable for our community.”

Julia Deans – President and CEO – Habitat for Humanity Canada

The keynote speaker is Julia Deans, President and Chief Executive Officer of Habitat for Humanity Canada, the country’s only affordable homeownership organization. Julia will encourage attendees to challenge perceived barriers to building housing, embrace cross-sectoral partnerships, and imagine innovative solutions to the housing crisis.

 “Everyone has a role to play in solving Canada’s housing crisis, and that’s why events like this one are important,” says Julia. “At Habitat for Humanity we know that innovative partnerships and collaboration are key to putting more families on the path to affordable homeownership. I look forward to sharing our experience doing that in Central Okanagan, and in communities across Canada.”

Participants will be encouraged to foster an open environment for discussion, collaboration, and innovation. The facilitators, who range in expertise from construction, development, finance, and the non-profit community, carefully selected for their diverse perspectives and deep knowledge, will play a pivotal role in guiding the conversations, moderating discussions, encouraging participation, and ensuring diverse voices are heard as community changemakers work to find new ways to work together and move forward to create more housing.

“We’re excited to play a role in this collaborative discussion and call to action”, says Brian Harris, CEO of Beem Credit Union, which was recently formed with the merger of Interior Savings and Gulf and Fraser Credit Unions. “Across the province, housing prices have reached unprecedented levels, placing the dream of home ownership out of reach for many. By bringing together players across sectors, we’re optimistic that solutions will be uncovered to improve the housing landscape now and into the future.”

Lisa Helps – Executive Lead – BC Builds

As a testament to her expertise and knowledge of developments in the BC Builds strategy, Lisa Helps, former Mayor of Victoria and now a key part of David Eby’s housing strategy taskforce, has also been invited to serve as a facilitator for some of these sessions.

“We are thrilled to have both Julia Deans and Lisa Helps join us alongside most of our local Okanagan municipal heads of planning, developers, homebuilders, engineers, legal and financial representation, and other interested decision makers” said Daniel Winer, Executive Officer of the Canadian Homebuilders Association “Their expertise and insights will be instrumental in helping guide some of the discussions and fostering meaningful collaborations among the attendees.”

The “Home Sweet Home” summit aims to break down barriers and activate connections for meaningful partnerships, strengthen ties between public and private sector players, and ensure all local stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute to real solutions for affordable housing challenges across the Okanagan and further into the Interior. Other sponsors who are contributing to ensure the event happens, includes BC Hydro, Fortis, Landcor Data Corporation, Association of Interior Realtors, BC Housing, Central Okanagan Economic Development Commission and Economic Trust of the Southern Interior. By the end of the day, they are planning to see concrete, accountable, time-defined actions that will drive positive change in our housing sector and get more attainable homes built faster.

For more information about the summit and how to get involved, please contact Daniel Winer

Executive Officer, Canadian Home Builders’ Association Central Okanagan at

### About the Home Sweet Home Summit:

The Home Sweet Home summit is dedicated to exploring unconventional approaches to the housing crisis, with a specific emphasis on “Missing Middle Housing.” By bringing together various stakeholders from different sectors, the summit aims to create a collaborative space for cross-sector actions that can lead to positive changes in the housing landscape of the Central Okanagan region.

### Key Objectives for the Day:

– Break down barriers and activate connections for meaningful collaborations.

– Strengthen ties between public and private sector contributors to address market housing solutions.

– Ensure all local stakeholders feel heard and have an opportunity to contribute to real solutions for affordable housing challenges.

### Interactive and Action-Focused:

The summit is not just a gathering; it’s a call to action. The organizers are designing an interactive environment to facilitate genuine collaboration across sectors. By the end of the day, the goal is to see concrete, accountable, time-defined actions that will drive positive change in the housing sector.