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VIDEO: Former Kelowna Citizen of the Year is running for city council

Elaine McMurray was recognized as Kelowna's Citizen of the year in 2020.

Whether that will translate into votes in her bid for city council, we will find out in October.

McMurray won that distinction for her tireless efforts to help the disadvantaged.

She's been involved in Kelowna's Journey Home Strategy from the outset, and she helped launch a national action plan to end homelessness.

In an interview with KelownaNow, she revealed that her dedication to the cause stems, in part, from her own life experience.

"I actually was nearly homeless in 1985 with my kids," said McMurray. "That was in the 18% interest, crisis."

Fortunately for her, she and her family were able to find social housing.

"The waiting list was two or three weeks long," said McMurray. "Not five to ten years long like they are now."

She acknowledges that the existing city council has done a lot to help get people housed.

"I will give them a lot of credit for what they're doing," McMurray said, "but we've got to keep doing more and more."

She said there is a new kind of homelessness that's stemming directly from the sky-high real estate market.

"Houses being sold at exorbitant prices, a million dollars down on Morrison and Ethel," McMurray explained.

"The house being torn down, a fourplex being put up. People who have rented those little houses," she continued, "they're suddenly homeless."

McMurray believes a variety of different housing models and rental subsidies could be part of the solution.

"There are so many things we can do to make this a livable, affordable city again," she said.

To check out all of the candidates, visit KelownaVotes 2022.

Municipal elections are Oct. 15.

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