Research Matters Blog

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub: York University
May 27, 2016
Categories: Ask the Hub

In our latest website survey, Brenda S. asked: “What contributions have been provided by Indigenous academia that are specifically designed within an Indigenous framework on Indigenous homelessness in Canada?"

This is an excellent question. Historically, academia has been dominated by non-Indigenous* people studying Indigenous practices and ways of life. Much of this research failed to be shared with Indigenous communities or truly involve participants, and in many cases, has been actively harmful. As written in the Aboriginal Homelessness section of our Point-in-Time Count Toolkit:

For many years, research was used as a tool to exploit and exert control over Aboriginal Peoples, both in Canada and globally (see Smith, 2012). The National Aboriginal Health Organization (NAHO) (2007) identifies that past research practices by external researchers have been “disrespectful, damaging and stigmatizing to First Nations People” in Canada (p. 3). The Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996) similarly identified that “[i]n the past, Aboriginal people have not been consulted about what information should be collected, who should gather that information, who should maintain it, and who should have access to it” (p. 4).

Furthermore, most research on Indigenous issues and homelessness follows a very Eurocentric way of researching. It is important to highlight the work of Indigenous scholars – and not just work done in collaboration with Indigenous peoples on committees, advisory boards, etc. – for these very reasons. What follows is a tiny snapshot of what indigenous academia has contributed to homelessness research – there is simply too much to capture in one post!

Defining Indigenous homelessness

Countless Indigenous scholars and elders have drawn attention to the role that previous as well as ongoing colonization plays in contributing to homelessness; and how it must be understood beyond a lack of physical shelter. In the 2014 Plan to End Aboriginal Homelessness in Calgary, members of the Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness wrote:

From an Aboriginal worldview, homelessness is not only an issue of housing but the combination of inter-related issues including history, present day systemic and societal perspectives about Aboriginal people, as well as the cultural losses of Aboriginal people in the areas of physical, emotional, mental and spiritual balance. 

Peter Menzies, a prominent therapist and member of Sagamok Anishnawbek First Nation, suggested that Indigenous homelessness is “the resultant condition of individuals being displaced from critical community social structures and lacking in stable housing.” So when we discuss Indigenous homelessness, the importance of history, present marginalization and cultural losses is crucial to consider. 

Intergenerational trauma

Menzies has also done important work in connecting intergenerational trauma and mental health; as well as how intergenerational trauma can be a contributing factor to homelessness. From this research, he developed the Intergenerational Trauma Model, which draws from traditional medicine wheel teachings to expand understandings of Indigenous homelessness. As Menzies writes:

The Intergenerational Trauma Model is predicated on the assumption that public policies have disrupted relations between the four systems and the resulting trauma has incubated negative social conditions for Aboriginal peoples, making them significantly more vulnerable to a number of threatening conditions, including homelessness. This has disrupted the balance of the wheel in which the individual, family, community, and nation exist. The Intergenerational Trauma Model identifies risk factors that may contribute to Aboriginal people’s homelessness.

He goes on to discuss that for Indigenous peoples, healing must occur at every level: individual, family, community and nation and incorporate traditional activities. Such contributions have encouraged social service professionals to consider intergenerational trauma as a central point in the Indigenous homelessness experience.

Connecting health, history and homelessness

Through a Wellesley Institute initiative, Billie Allan and Janet Smylie wrote about the impact that racism has on the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples in Canada. They review literature about the clear connections between marginalization, colonization and racism and conclude that: “It is time for stories of change: change in how we imagine, develop, implement and evaluate health policies, services and education, change in how we talk about racism and history in this country.” 

Similarly, Cyndy Baskin drew attention to the strengths and resilience of indigenous youth who had been through the child welfare system. Using medicine wheels and sharing circles with participants, Baskin found that most did not grow up with their biological parents; and their grandparents and parents had had involvement with residential schooling and/or the child welfare system. Youth participants demonstrated deep knowledge of the spiritual and structural aspects of homelessness, connecting their experiences of homelessness to childhood trauma and communities struggling with the effects of colonization.  

In her thesis, Mikaela Daria Gabriel explored the connections between Elders, mental health and homelessness amongst Indigenous people experiencing homelessness in Toronto. Her study found that traditional knowledge was highly valued by participants, but they faced many obstacles in accessing them; ultimately leading her to recommend more research in this area. 

Symbol of the collective story

Indigenous research methods

So far, many of the studies I’ve highlighted have used mostly Eurocentric research methods. Many Indigenous scholars are calling for the increased use of methodologies more in line with traditional knowledges and processes. In a 2005 journal article, Baskin reflected on the importance of using Indigenous research methods:

Gathering our own stories through Aboriginal research methodologies becomes our Indigenous medium. It involves how we gather our information, the stories we choose to tell and how we communicate them. Indigenous research methodologies also concern who does the gathering and communicating, for uppermost is the responsibility to anticolonialism and the promotion of Aboriginal world views.

Shawn Wilson, an Opaskwayak Cree from Manitoba, wrote an entire book on the subject: Research is Ceremony: Indigenous Research Methods

Many studies incorporate storytelling and sharing circles, while others establish more comprehensive frameworks. For example: One study conducted by the Blue Quills First Nation College Research and Program Evaluation Partnership emphasized that ceremony, circle process and relational accountability are key components of any Indigenous research methodology. 

Though using Indigenous research methods is important, there can be many challenges in bridging Aboriginal and Western worldviews. In her 2009 article, Lynn Lavellee discusses the use of sharing circles and Anishnaabe symbol-based reflection in research. She discovered that translating her work to fit western academic requirements could be difficult:

I found the academic requirements of putting this research into the written form of a dissertation and publications limited the details about the symbols. Pictures of the symbols and the stories that accompanied them were included; however, attempting to put the symbols into words is somewhat of a contradiction because words can limit the meaning of the symbols. This challenge was accentuated in trying to explain the songs that two participants selected to describe the meaning of the program. As noted in Hawk’s story, one of her symbols was the Strong Women’s Song. The second participant to use a song was Crane. His song was Ogitchada, which translates into “a person of great heart.” He stated that this song “speaks of our people as warriors, men and women, how strong our people are and how strong our hearts are.” Both songs involve melodies and do not contain words. However, Aboriginal songs have spiritual meaning, and both participants described their personal meaning of the songs.

Another aspect that was problematic was how she was expected to interpret the stories. As Lavellee wrote: “…I began coding the data the way I had been taught in my qualitative methods courses and past qualitative research experiences. This method fragmented the stories and reduced them to ‘bits of nature’.” The use of symbols and telling a collective story (its symbol pictured right), however, brought more of an Indigenous approach back to the project.

More on Indigenous research

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, this is just a small sample of the work being done by Indigenous scholars. I encourage anyone interested in this topic to peruse our library, as well as searching elsewhere to learn more. Connecting with researchers at local universities and attending Indigenous conferences are also a few ways to find out about work being undertaken by Indigenous academia.  

* I have used “Indigenous” throughout this post for consistency, but wish to acknowledge that it is a homogenizing term that does not accurately represent the groups of people discussed. 

This post is part of our Friday "Ask the Hub" blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at thehub@edu.yorku.ca and we will provide a research-based answer.

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub: York University
May 20, 2016
Categories: Ask the Hub

This question came from Kristina B. via our latest website survey: “Do you have any tips on how to educate landlords about human and tenant rights; as well as dealing with slumlords?”

Landlord engagement has been a popular topic lately. A few weeks ago, I wrote about some ways to work with landlords, and people have been sharing their strategies in the Community Workspace. Educating negligent, unwilling or altogether absent landlords, however, is an entirely different task.

Most landlords know what their responsibilities are and want to maintain the value of what they own. “Slumlord” is a derogatory term for absentee and/or negligent property owners, especially those who own multiple properties, ignore repairs and other tenant needs, and profiteer. These types of landlords are in the minority, but they do exist. Furthermore, people experiencing homelessness, living in poverty, and who are new to Canada, are all especially at risk of ending up in housing that is overcrowded and/or otherwise unfit for living in. So it is important to ensure we do what we can to engage with landlords and make sure they know the rights that tenants have and how they can honour them. 

Share legal information

Rental housing is governed at both the provincial/territorial level and the municipal level, and there’s a great many different laws involved: building codes, human rights frameworks, tenancies acts, and so on. Presenting the information – perhaps in partnership with local community legal clinics – in an easy-to-understand format can help further landlords’ understanding of what they’re expected to do. 

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has plenty of plain language resources for landlords, including a guide for new landlords and fact sheets for every province and territory. Such information can be repurposed in simple formats and shared with landlords at local community meetings, on websites written for landlords, small-scale informative campaigns (ie. on social media), and so on. This information is equally important for tenants to have, and many local tenant organizations and community legal clinics specialize in creating easy-to-read resources. (The housing law section of the Community Legal Education Ontario website is an excellent example.)

Address discrimination

As one 2008 Ontario-based report highlighted, discrimination during the rental process is not uncommon. While most landlords know that they can’t list a preference for some tenants over others, this happens regularly. For example: The Ontario Human Rights Commission (ORC) has an information section for landlords that outlines human rights in housing. Though the ORC states that landlords cannot discriminate against potential renters for various reasons, rental listings (especially in tight rental markets) regularly describe the only kinds of tenants that the owner will consider (“quiet couples,” “students,” “working professionals,” etc.). 

Filing a claim is often simply too much work for most people looking for housing, so there is little action that is taken against such discrimination. In very tight rental markets where vacancy rates are low, landlords have a lot of control over who they rent to and some feel comfortable openly discriminating against some groups of people (ie. “No welfare” postings). A Regina study conducted in 2011 found that while many people on social assistance can be good tenants, a small minority have been disruptive, destructive and failed to pay rent – resulting in widespread discrimination against people on assistance, even though these problems often arise with people who aren’t on social assistance. Dispelling negative myths about potential tenants is a key issue that should be included in any communication strategy with landlords. 

Towards a New Bill of RightsHighlight the lived experience of poverty and homelessness

Legislated protections are important, but so are grassroots bills of rights developed by people with lived experience. Last year, The Dream Team created a bill of rights for people in permanent supportive housing to raise awareness to issues of secure tenancy and quality of housing/services, and more importantly, to ensure housing providers consider the voices of their tenants. The Homeless Charter of Rights, developed in 2013 through the Calgary Homeless Foundation, is another example of highlighting the needs and desires of people with lived experience of homelessness. 

Highlighting documents like these adds a social element to housing, often forgotten in situations where owners are simply trying to make a profit. It also ensures that people who are vulnerable are being represented beyond being painted as “difficult.” 

Include a focus on social housing organizations

Much of Canada’s existing social housing is owned by municipalities, and some of these buildings are among the most poorly maintained. In 2014, BC Housing tenants in Vancouver claimed they’d been living in mould-infested apartments for two years while waiting for repairs. Some participants in the At Home/Chez Soi study noted that they gave up on waiting for social housing due to the poor condition that many BC Housing units were in, and the time it took to get transferred/receive housing. As Chris Selley pointed out in the National Post, Toronto Community Housing is plagued by spending scandals and a $2.6 billion repair backlog. 

Engaging these types of landlords requires more political action – reaching out to local councillors, representatives for housing organizations, tenant boards, etc. - as well as advocacy around multi-level government commitment to improve existing social housing and ultimately, build more. 

Inform landlords about Housing First and other programs

Some landlords will discriminate against certain people (ie. those who make lower incomes), but as the At Home/Chez Soi study showed, many are willing. Housing First programs can be particularly attractive to landlords because they offer guarantees on rent and evictions planning, as well as other crucial social services for the tenants who need them, therefore decreasing the amount of time and money they spend on what some call “problem tenants.” 

Having designated people to support both landlord and tenant and mediate potential problems is incredibly important. Landlords are primarily concerned with maintaining their property’s value and covering expenses, but they’re not necessarily immune to understanding individual circumstances. 

Help tenants organize

Unfortunately with some landlords, no matter how much engagement takes place, problems may continue. In these instances, it’s crucial to help affected tenants organize and take action through the development of tenant groups and in some cases, legal action. 

In 2014, tenants took Akelius, a Swedish company that has been aggressively buying up rental buildings in Toronto and beyond, to the Landlord and Tenant Board after the removal of onsite superintendents led to neglect. (The same company has been accused of forcing out low-income tenants by ignoring repairs until they leave, then renovating and renting to higher earners.) Parkdale Community Legal Services represented the tenants in the case, who were awarded a $50,000 collective settlement in 2015. Though the settlement doesn’t solve the issue that tenant concerns are not dealt with as quickly as they were before, tenants at least saw some reimbursement for their struggles – and Akelius was ultimately held responsible. 

Related posts

Why would a landlord rent to someone who is homeless?

This post is part of our Friday "Ask the Hub" blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at thehub@edu.yorku.ca and we will provide a research-based answer.

University of Calgary; Turner Research & Strategy Inc.
May 18, 2016

So you’ve ended homelessness – but can you prove it?

The notion of ending homelessness has shaped public policy and community-based responses towards greater accountability and evidence-based decision making in recent years. While great success has been achieved, actually ending homelessness is another matter altogether. Policy makers, funders, system leaders, and practitioners alike have all come to understand that an end to homelessness means something other than an absolute end – rather, a “functional” end, or achievement of “Functional Zero”.

The notion of “Functional Zero”

A “Functional Zero” approach to defining an end to homelessness describes the situation in a community where homelessness has become a manageable problem. That is, the availability of services and resources match or exceed the demand for them from the target population. For example, a community may declare they have ended homelessness when they have enough supportive housing, shelter beds, service workers, and funds to assist the number of people accessing the services. In economic terms, we can simplify this concept to simply refer to reaching a balance in supply-demand.

More recently, communities have begun to declare they have in fact achieved the goal of Functional Zero with respect to ending homelessness. New Orleans, for example, has publicly announced they have ended veterans’ homelessness, while Medicine Hat is gaining attention as “the first community to end chronic homelessness in Canada”.

Despite these promising signs of progress, there is no internationally recognized definition of what an end of homelessness looks like, what the indicators and targets should be confirming such an achievement, nor process of verifying whether a community has indeed met their goal.

To this end, The School of Public Policy (SPP), the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), and the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness are supporting a collaborative process to develop a national definition of an end to homelessness. Through this process, we aim to also outline critical measures needed to confirm an end to homelessness and propose a set of indicators based on a review of targets internationally and the on-the-ground experience of communities working in this direction.

Why does a common definition matter?

A common definition with measurable indicators will help us articulate what local homeless systems aim to achieve in a consistent manner, allowing comparable analysis across jurisdictions and evidence-based assessment of policy implementation for government and funders. This will contribute to continuous quality improvement and enhanced performance towards common objectives, thereby informing investment decisions, system gap analysis, and policy change.

Importantly, a common definition can help us address concerns and skepticism about “what it really means to end homelessness” encountered across stakeholder groups, including the public, media, politicians, service providers and those with lived experience.

How do we define an end to homelessness currently?

In an international review of policy documents from 61 jurisdictions, we found little consistency in how an end to homelessness is defined. Most often, an implied definition following the Functional Zero approach was used in the application of targets, benchmarks or other performance measures that define progress.

Common metrics used included:

  • Number of program and housing units available against estimated demand.
  • Length of stay in shelter/street.
  • Time between identification or ‘registry’ and placement in housing.
  • Numbers of homeless persons (point-in-time count, annual shelter /transitional housing utilization).
  • Percent who successfully exit to permanent housing, etc.

An important implied assumption across these definitions and their complementing measures is that the focus of our efforts is on effectively managing the supply-demand dynamic of the local homeless-serving system itself. In other words, an end to homelessness is coterminous with the effective performance of local services, balancing client needs with quality and efficient responses. The measures proposed track the flow into the homeless system and its capacity to respond to shifting demand with diverse interventions (prevention, emergency shelter, outreach, Housing First, etc.). They further focus on the workings of the homeless-serving system itself and how quickly it is able to assess clients for appropriate intervention, move them into housing with supports, and to what effect longer term.

While there is nothing wrong per se with this implied focus, making it the sole foundation behind a national definition of Functional Zero would fall short on several fronts, particularly evident when we look to the perspectives of those with lived experience.

The lived experience perspective

In an albeit small sample (n=6) of preliminary interviews with individuals with lived experience with homelessness, participants highlighted that access to safe, accessible, and affordable housing was essential to ending homelessness at a personal and broader social level. Secondly, they stressed that ending homelessness is more than housing as efforts are needed to reduce social exclusion and ensure those with lived experience are part of inclusive communities.

Q: What are your thoughts on typical performance indicators and targets such as the swiftness of re-housing?

Alice: … if it is just about getting people into a place where there are walls than… it’s not going to make a lot of difference. [People] are going to keep going back out [into homelessness] because there has to be community building.

What is evident from these interviews, is that those with lived experience do not define an end to homelessness in terms of targets and performance measures. In some ways, this is obvious; they look to their experience and that of their social networks to develop an understanding of what an end to homelessness would mean to them personally. Yet, to date, our approaches to defining Functional Zero have excluded such perspectives.

What use is building an effective homeless-serving system with lengths of stay in shelter of less than 30 or 21 or seven days, if those we serve report we have not ended their homelessness? There has to be congruence between the indicators we measure and the lived experience perspective. 

Moving Forward

Building on this research, we have developed a discussion paper that proposes a draft framework for the definition for further discussion across Canada. Over the course of the coming months, the COH and SPP will expand consultations on the proposed definition to a broad range of stakeholders including service providers, policy makers, funders, researchers and those with lived experience.

This blog post originally appeared on the University of Calgary School of Public Policy's blog, and has been republished with permission. 

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness/Homeless Hub: York University
May 13, 2016
Categories: Ask the Hub

This question came from Jonathan S. via our latest website survey: “It’s been suggested that PTSD is common among people who have been homeless for a long time. What research has been conducted to show this and what avenues have been put into place to ease them back into community living?”

The relationship between trauma and homelessness is complex and has been the subject of many studies – simply search “trauma” on our site and you’ll see what I mean. Trauma has been shown to be a significant factor in the lives of people experiencing homelessness. It can lead to a variety of mental and physical health issues, and a reason some people cope with substance use

Many people experience trauma before they become homeless. A 2008 study in Sydney found that 98% of the male participants had experienced a traumatic event, compared to and of that percentage, 79% showed a lifetime prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). For 59% of those participants, PTSD symptoms began before their first time being homeless. Another study from Australia, conducted in 2006 with youth, found that half of all participants had experienced trauma before homelessness.

Events that occur during childhood are particularly powerful. In the At Home/Chez Soi study, 46% of participants reported having adverse childhood experiences (physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse). In 2015, Bender et al. discovered that 79% of homeless youth participants has experienced two or more types of child abuse, and each instance more than doubled the likelihood that youth met criteria for PTSD.

Further, Intergenerational trauma – dealing with generations of violence and oppression from colonial projects like residential schools - is a primary issue for Aboriginal Peoples, who continue to be disproportionately represented in the homeless population.

Trauma can be both a cause and a consequence of homelessness. The experience of homelessness itself can also be traumatic and cause PTSD, as it makes people more vulnerable to discrimination, adversity, social exclusion and violence. Many of the stories shared in Homelessness is One Piece of My Puzzle showed that trauma is a powerful cause and result of homelessness. In a 2015 U.S. study, 23-30% of the participants (homeless men) screened positive for PTSD. There were other important findings, including that:

Those with positive PTSD screens had been homeless longer and were more likely to have met time criteria for chronic homelessness. They were significantly more likely to be veterans and to report violent attacks, abuse histories, and mental health problems. Importantly, only 69% of those with positive PTSD screens acknowledged current mental health problems. These individuals were much less likely to report mental health counseling in the prior year.

In other words, the longer someone experiences homelessness, the more likely they are to exhibit symptoms of PTSD. And due to the unpredictable, rough nature of chronic homelessness, many don’t receive counselling or other services that they may need. 

Deficit perspective vs trauma informed perspective2 ways to help: Housing First and trauma-informed care approaches

People experiencing chronic homelessness are not just at a higher risk of exhibiting PTSD, they also tend to have more severe issues with physical health and substance use, higher incidents of involvement with the criminal justice system, and face more discrimination. Even though it is estimated that people experiencing chronic homelessness are a minority – about 2-4% - they use more than half of all available homelessness services because they have the greatest needs.

This is why many researchers have advocated for prioritizing people who are chronically homeless in Housing First programs, which remove many of the barriers to housing and goes beyond housing services to provide clinical (counselling, therapies, medication) and complementary services (employment services, case management, etc.) as well.

Given the prevalence of trauma and PTSD amongst this population, helping them adjust to long-term housing also requires trauma-informed care (TIC) at all personal, practice and organizational levels. It is rarely possible for someone to thrive in a new apartment or community without addressing symptoms of PTSD or their trauma in general. After reviewing literature, Hopper, Bassuk and Olivet (2010) came up with the following definition of TIC:

…a strengths-based framework that is grounded in an understanding of and responsiveness to the impact of trauma, that emphasizes physical, psychological, and emotional safety for both providers and survivors, and that creates opportunities for survivors to rebuild a sense of control and empowerment.

In TIC, workers are aware of and sensitive to the experiences that others may have had, and bring that knowledge forward in language and practice. The table pictured right (from the British Columbia TIC practice guide), shows how “problem” approach differs from a strengths-based TIC approach. (The guide overall is a great resource for anyone curious about the specifics of developing TIC practices.)

Supportive housing, when implemented well, can also work very well for people who have experienced trauma. A 2015 study of two supportive housing programs for women experiencing homelessness in Toronto found that participants reported increased housing stability, improved family life, and an increased sense of safety and wellbeing. This was attributed largely to the TIC approach, but also the harm reduction framework that both programs worked within.

Drop-in programs can also be an effective option. Workers at Phoenix Rising ran a program in 2005 for youth experiencing homelessness that was trauma-informed and focused on helping youth understand their trauma, triggers and learn different methods of coping. After the program, participants’ symptoms of PTSD were greatly reduced.

Helping people who’ve experienced chronic homelessness and/or PTSD adjust to stable housing isn’t an easy task and it requires many people working together. If you’re interested in more resources on trauma, PTSD and trauma-informed care, read:

This post is part of our Friday "Ask the Hub" blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at thehub@edu.yorku.ca and we will provide a research-based answer.

A Way Home
May 11, 2016

As I look out my office window at the trees and flowers in bloom, I’m reminded that it has only been six months since we launched A Way Home with the support of a range of organizations and partners in Canada, but also international partners such as FEANTSA, the UN and the U.S. federal government. A Way Home is a cross-sectoral national coalition whose members are aligning strategies and resources to affect real change on the issue of youth homelessness.  The goal is to shift the focus from simply ‘managing’ the problem through emergency services, to actually preventing and ending youth homelessness. Our efforts are spawning an international movement for change on the issue, as well as inspiring leaders from other complex social issues to apply our approach and learning.

I think it’s important to highlight that before we formalized as a coalition, the national partners were engaged in wonderful, collaborative work. We are now poised and active as a coalition to take the work to scale in a strategic, coordinated way using the Collective Impact framework. We all know what collaboration looks like, but Collective Impact is actually a little different.  It involves a group of relevant actors from different sectors working together to address a major challenge by developing and working toward a common goal that fundamentally changes outcomes for a population. As we progress in our work, Dr. Stephen Gaetz and I will be writing a series of posts about Collective Impact and our blending of this framework with the Constellation Model. For now, let’s just say it is incredibly difficult work, but if we are asking communities to think and work differently concerning youth homelessness, then we must also if we truly want to have better outcomes for youth. In addition, I’ll release a series of blog posts that ‘deep dive’ on some of the work we are either leading or supporting as a coalition.

A Way Home, in collaboration with a range of partners, will launch a number of resources and supports in the coming months designed to help communities and governments make the conceptual and practical shift to prevention. This includes a comprehensive Youth Homelessness Community Planning Toolkit developed with the support of the Province of Ontario based on best practices in planning as well as the on-the-ground trial and error in youth homelessness planning and implementation from communities, provinces and states across Canada and the U.S.  We’re also gearing up to launch a series of resources and webinars focused on youth homelessness prevention and change management. This fall we will release the results of the largest national study on youth homelessness ever done in Canada, led by A Way Home founding member the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.

In closing I would like to highlight that one of our coalition members, The Push for Change, launched a major national campaign last week. I’m reminded that we can all play a role in this movement to prevent and end youth homelessness. Joe Roberts, a formerly homeless youth, is pushing a shopping cart across the country to not only raise awareness about youth homelessness, but to leave a legacy of prevention. A Way Home has partnered with Joe and The Push for Change, Raising the Roof, and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to launch The Upstream Project, which is a school-based, early-intervention model adapted from Australia. The Upstream Project is but one of many prevention-based interventions we will be promoting and/or piloting in the coming months. Stay tuned for updates as we seed and support communities and governments to prevent and end youth homelessness in Canada.

This post is part of a monthly series that follows A Way Home's progress as we create real change on the issue of youth homelessness. On the second Wednesday of every month, join us for an update from A Way Home's Executive Director, Melanie Redman.

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The analysis and interpretations contained in the blog posts are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.