HOPE Outreach announces closure after 16 years of service - Okanagan | Globalnews.ca

After 16 years of supporting the Okanagan’s most vulnerable women, HOPE Outreach is disbanding.

The society provides several services to Kelowna and Vernon, B.C., including nighttime outreach, adverse date reporting and a naloxone team.

“Due to financial constraints, the association’s board of directors decided to withdraw,” said Naomi Woodland, chairwoman of the HOPE Outreach board of directors.

“After COVID, a lot of nonprofits were struggling. During COVID, there was a lot of government funding that really bolstered our support. We saw an increase in marginalized people on the streets in Kelowna and Vernon. But after COVID, some of that funding didn’t come back.”

The nonprofit organization, founded in 2008 by Angie Lohr and Kelly Craig, has helped thousands of women in the sex trade and the homeless since its founding. Lohr retired last year.

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“I’m kind of excited, it’s been a gift to a lot of people that we serve, and Kelly and I just want to make a difference, and so do our staff, and so do our volunteers, but I don’t think they really understand the impact that it’s having,” Lohr said.

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With the closure, there may be gaps in services, though Woodland said that won’t last long.

“The Ally Outreach Team is part of the HOPE Outreach Program, we have trained volunteers, we have dedicated personnel, we have a 24/7 phone hotline that is a lifeline for people who are living on the street and in the sex trade,” Woodland said.

এছাড়াও পড়ুন  জন আব্রাহাম রুপির সাথে এপ্রিলিয়া ইন্ডিয়ার ব্র্যান্ড অ্যাম্বাসেডর হিসেবে কাজ করছেন; 4.10 লক্ষ টাকার সুপারবাইক: বলিউড নিউজ - বলিউড হাঙ্গামা

“We are not looking to close any services. What is required is to transfer those services to other organisations and those services will continue in some form.

Even if the project continues, disbanding is still a loss to the community.

“We were really sad to hear (about the closure) and I think what’s unique about them is that they have their own outreach program to get out into the streets and talk to our women and sex workers and build relationships with them,” said Chantal Banman, executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society of the Central Okanagan.

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The Elizabeth Fry Society of the Central Okanagan is one of many nonprofits in the region that serves hundreds of vulnerable women and children each year.

“We support all survivors of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, intimate partner violence and child abuse and neglect, and we do this through community victim services, sexual assault counseling and community education,” Banman said.

An announcement regarding the direction of the HOPE outreach program will be made in the coming weeks.

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