My name is Giulio; I am the founder of One Big Table and what I want this holiday season is more supportive housing for all the residents of our city, Kelowna. 

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This is my letter in support of the Agassiz Supportive Housing Project.

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Hello, 

My name is Giulio, I am 38 years old and have lived in Kelowna for the past 10 years. In my time here, I have met my wife, Anne-Marie, had 2 daughters , Pia & Simone, and amongst other things I have started a business called One Big Table. 

I am proud of what I have created for myself through hard work, friendship and I must say, a little bit of luck as well. I am aware of the abundance I get to enjoy often in my daily life, and while life is far from being easy, I am throughly grateful for all that I enjoy.

However, life hasn’t always felt this gracious & purposeful. In my early 20s, arguably still too young to see through the dynamics of life, I found myself working a string of minimum wage jobs for about 3 years. Back then, just like today, cooking was what I loved, so that’s what I did. The challenge was not finding work, but rather finding work that paid much felt impossible. 

I worked really hard, I didn’t drink much, and I lived simply - by most accounts frugally. I don’t remember ever going hungry (and working in a restaurant helped in that sense) but I remember distinctly when it was Tuesday. Payday was not till Friday, and I often had little more than a pocket full of change.

I was by most accounts poor. According to Canada Revenue Agencies I was definitely poor ; I lived well below the poverty line. “funny” I remember thinking; I didn’t feel poor.

I can see now, with a few extra years behind me, how blind I really was to the precarity of my situation - how a fall with my bike, an infected tooth or illness, could have easily swept me into a descending spiral, hardly because of something I had deserved or done. 

How was it possible that I was working so hard and yet I was so far from a life of financial stability?

I am older now, and I have learned what it means to surround oneself with community; of its pleasures but also of its inherent responsibilities. Inclusivity can shape both our language and our actions so gracefully, but it requires a continuous adjustment, at times a truly uncomfortableness. What it requires is effort - eye contact, a kind word, an ear to listen or a bite to eat. 

And then there's the issue of housing of course. We know of the transformational power that a roof over our heads lends to our mental and physical well-being. Of course, how could that not be true? And this too is something we can offer not just to “those people” but to our community as a whole, as a resource that we all hope will never be needed, but that we’d be fools to think is unnecessary. 

I vote in support of the Agassiz supportive housing project because I feel it’s imperative there be a system in place to help our community members through the difficult transitions most of us are bound to experience in the ups & downs of life. 

I am grateful for the work that the Journey Home Task Force has done so far. I believe they have shown their necessary leadership in addressing such a difficult task. But in order to throughly succeed, what they will need is our support. This is my letter to support.

Please consider sending your letter or email to Kelowna City Council by the 3rd of January 2019. The public hearing on the rezoning application will be in council chambers on January 17th, and we need as many people as possible to send in letters before the two-week cut off period. 

Additionally, please consider registering to attend and/or speak with the “in-favour” voice at the public hearing.

For your letter/email please address it to cityclerk@kelowna.ca and make reference to file number Z18-0109. 

Thank you so much.

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