Nov. 24, Starting a Conversation with Bethany Presley – How do smaller Canadian cities address homelessness with limited funding and resources?

Please join us for the next Starting a Conversation discussion series!
These noon hour discussions are an informal opportunity for presenters and audiences to explore a variety of topics and works-in-process. Everyone is welcome!

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Homelessness is growing in smaller cities across Canada. Planning to tackle homelessness is increasingly prevalent, but we know little about how the service sector in smaller Canadian cities strategize and addresses homelessness with limited funding and capacity. This lack of knowledge at both the academic and community level means agencies and stakeholders in smaller communities have limited resources in mitigating homelessness. Using a community-engaged research methodology, my research explores the optimal ways of ending and managing homelessness in smaller Canadian cities using Vernon, BC, as a case study. My research aims to investigate how Vernon’s social service sector has organized to address homelessness, to provide other smaller Canadian cities with a set of best practices in mitigating homelessness with limited funding and capacity. My research will fill the knowledge gap by examining the challenges and successes of developing homelessness policies in smaller Canadian cities with a population size of less than 50,000.


Bethany is in the second year of her MA in Community Engagement, Social Change, and Equity at UBCO. She also holds a BA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University. Prior to her graduate studies, Bethany was an Academic Program Assistant at the University of Guelph where she worked alongside faculty and grad students in the School of Languages and Literatures.

Bethany relocated to the Okanagan in the fall of 2020 for her graduate studies at UBC. She connected with the Social Planning Council for the North Okanagan at the beginning of her studies, who became a key community partner in her research. Through this partnership, Bethany collaborated with the social service sector in Vernon to better understand how they have organized to address homelessness in the community.

Her goal is to destigmatize homelessness by bringing awareness to the perils and causes of this social issue and advocate for the policy changes needed to address the growing problem of homelessness in smaller Canadian cities.