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Homeless Hub Newsletter - February 23, 2017
Canadian Definition of Ending Homelessness: Measuring Functional and Absolute Zero

What does ‘ending homelessness’ mean and how do we know when we’ve reached that goal?

In Canada, there has been no single, agreed-upon definition of what it means to end homelessness. In a major step forward, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness have released Canada’s first definition of ending homelessness.

The definition is based on consultations conducted across the country. The national definition takes into account factors such as poverty, access to affordable housing, mental health and life cycle stage. These factors interact in complex ways to impact homelessness. It also takes into account the perspectives of people who have experienced homelessness. For many, an end to homelessness means more than housing. It means safety, security and affordability.

Read the definition

Blog: Working together to define what it means to end homelessness

Canada’s first definition of ending homelessness is the result of a multi-year effort, including a rigorous literature review, interviews with individuals with lived experience, several working papers and a national consultation process where policy-makers, service providers, advocates and people who have experienced homelessness provided their expertise. In celebration of this collaborative process, we wanted to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of all those that provided input. It is through the expertise of others that we are able to launch a definition that reflects the priorities, perspectives and commitments of those working to end homelessness across Canada.

Read the blog post
Blog: Why do governments criminalize the homeless?

Blog: Why do governments criminalize the homeless?

Ambar Aleman

The latest Ask the Hub blog post answers the question “Why do governments criminalize the homeless?”. This question touches on a number of shifts in public policy that restrict the daily lives of homeless people including subsistence strategies such as panhandling, squeegeeing, and sleeping in public spaces. Often, the logic behind these laws contribute to the marginalization and stigmatization of people experiencing homelessness under the pretext of public safety when in reality, these laws have very little to do with protecting the public from the supposed “dangers” that the homeless population bring on society.

Read the blog post
Use of Honoraria in Point-in-Time Counts

Use of Honoraria in Point-in-Time Counts

Ilyana Keohane & Jesse Donaldson

Many communities that conduct Point-in-Time Counts choose to offer honoraria to participants, which can include granola bars, backpacks, clothing, blankets, and other items. When undertaking research that involves participants experiencing homelessness and/or extreme economic insecurity, honoraria should be considered carefully. Establishing a balance between encouraging participation, yet avoiding coercion, can be challenging. This paper outlines the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness’ position on honoraria use during a Point-in-Time Count and provides some examples of items that you may consider using. We suggest that you use the following as a guide and adapt it to suit your own community.

Read the position paper
COH Survey

One Day Left! Complete the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Impact Survey

Over the last month, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) has been conducting a survey on whether and how our work has helped you, your colleagues, and your community prevent and end homelessness. We will be closing the survey tomorrow, Friday February 24, so this is your last chance to be entered into a draw to win a paperback of your choice from the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press! Please fill out this survey to tell us what has worked, what hasn’t, and how we can do our work more effectively.
Complete the survey

Youth Homelessness Community Planning Webinar 2: Collective Impact

A Way Home Canada

Melanie Redman, Executive Director of A Way Home Canada and Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness will offer a practical training on Collective Impact and the role it plays in youth homelessness community planning. The session will be peppered with mini case studies of the successes and pitfalls of Collective Impact work and what we can learn from them. Participants will gain a rich understanding of why Collective Impact is critical if we want to prevent and end youth homelessness. Join the A Way Home webinar on Tuesday, February 28 at 1:00-2:30pm (ET)!

Register for the webinar
THRIVE: Medicine Hat & Region Strategy To End Poverty & Increase Wellbeing

THRIVE: Medicine Hat & Region Strategy To End Poverty & Increase Wellbeing

Medicine Hat Poverty Reduction Leadership Group

The city of Medicine Hat, credited as being the first to end homelessness, is ready for their next challenge, to end poverty in all its forms and ensure wellbeing for all citizens by 2030. The THRIVE Strategy to end poverty, is a collaboration between The Poverty Reduction Leadership Group and community members who provided their valuable input and lent their voices to the creation of plan. Rather than eleviating the symptoms of poverty, the THRIVE plan calls for system changes that will prevent and ultimately end poverty by addressing the root causes, focusing on 13 priorities and key actions.

Read the report
Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing: A Guide to Support the Safe, Healthy Development of Young Children

Early Childhood Self-Assessment Tool for Family Supportive Housing: A Guide to Support the Safe, Healthy Development of Young Children

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

Supportive housing for families with young children is an ideal environment to increase parent/caregiver understanding of how they can positively impact early learning. Being exposed to a safe, stable, and developmentally appropriate environment while young is important to healthy child development. This new tool contains recommendations for making supportive housing, both scattered site and single site, safe and developmentally appropriate for infants, toddlers, and preschoolers.

Download the Self-Assessment Tool
Book: Child and Family Well-Being and Homelessness: Integrating Research into Practice and Policy

Book: Child and Family Well-Being and Homelessness: Integrating Research into Practice and Policy

Edited by Mary E. Haskett

This brief highlights several of the most pressing challenges in addressing the needs of families who are experiencing homelessness and presents a set of strong policy recommendations for assessment, intervention, research, and service delivery related to homeless children and their parents. It aims to increase awareness of the mental health, educational, and developmental challenges faced by these children and their parents. Child and Family Well-Being and Homelessness is an essential resource for policy makers and related professionals and for graduate students and researchers in developmental, clinical, and school psychology; child, youth and family policy; public health; and social work.

Access the book
Understanding and Responding to Modern Slavery within the Homelessness Sector

Understanding and Responding to Modern Slavery within the Homelessness Sector

Kevin Hyland; Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner

Modern slavery is a crime that affects thousands of people in the United Kingdom and millions around the world. It is an injustice that exploits the most vulnerable in society, and evidence from the homelessness sector suggests that homeless people and rough sleepers are being targeted by trackers. Despite the best efforts of organisations working in this field, the response to date has not been effective. This report aims to increase our understanding of modern slavery within the homelessness sector, thus improving our response – both of which are vital if we hope to shelter and support those in need.

Read the report
No Right to Rest: Police Enforcement Patterns and Quality of Life Consequences of the Criminalization of Homelessness

No Right to Rest: Police Enforcement Patterns and Quality of Life Consequences of the Criminalization of Homelessness

Robinson, T.
Urban Affairs Review, Vol. 53

Laws restricting the behaviours of homeless people in public places are proliferating. Proponents argue that such “quality of life” laws will encourage homeless people to move off the streets and into services, and thereby improve their quality of life. Critics argue that these laws target vulnerable individuals and show little evidence of improving the lives of homeless people. To inform this debate, this article reports data from two separate surveys of Colorado homeless residents regarding their experiences with quality of life policing, supplemented by a review of police data regarding contacts, ticketing, and arrests of homeless people. 

Access the Journal

Forgotten Youth: Homeless LGBT Youth of Color and the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act

Page, M.
Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy, Vol. 12, Issue 2

Youth are of varying ages, races, genders, and sexualities. Unfortunately, the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act does not specifically account for these differences which causes some youth in need to miss out on the services and programs that their peers receive. As a result, there is presently a disproportionate percentage of youth of color, and especially LGBT youth of color, who experience homelessness in a given year compared to their overall percentage in the general population. This article focuses on how and why this problem occurs, the effects it has on homeless LGBT youth of color, and then proposes specific revisions to the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act that would better remedy the present pervasive homelessness amongst LGBT youth of color, and in effect, all homeless youth.

Access the Journal
The Community Workspace on Homelessness

The PiT Counts page has a new look!


In support of the 2018 Coordinated Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness in Canadian Communities, we are launching a new look of the Point-in-Time Counts (PiT) page. The PiT Counts page provides an opportunity to ask questions, share learnings, access and exchange resources and improve our collective understanding of Point-in-Time Counts in Canada. On the PiT Counts homepage, you will find links to Everyone Counts: a Guide to Point-in-Time Counts in Canada, the Point-in-Time Count Toolkit, and numerous resources to support the implementation of a count. You are encouraged to post questions and participate in the conversation on the discussion board.
Start your own discussion on the Community Workspace on Homelessness
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