Systems Planning to Prevent and End Homelessness: Community Progress and Priorities Across Canada

As Canadian communities seek to set ambitious and achievable targets for preventing and ending homelessness, there is an increasing understanding of the need to engage systems and sectors beyond those typically associated with housing and homelessness. Physical and mental health, child protection, justice, education, Indigenous relations and other public systems that may not have a formal mandate to address homelessness clearly intersect, intervene, and have a role to play in the outcomes for individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

The federal government’s homelessness strategy, Reaching Home, is set to launch in April of 2019, which will require communities to develop system plans that engage public systems, the private sector, and other players that can contribute to homelessness prevention and sustained exits. However, communities across Canada are at varying stages of planning work, some more robust and action-oriented than others. There is a need to take outcomes-driven, community-based systems planning knowledge and skills to scale nationally.

In order to support communities in setting and reaching their goals for preventing and ending homelessness, the SPC has conducted a needs assessment of Community Advisory Boards (CAB) and Community Entities (CE), as well as local Housing and Social Service Stakeholders responsible for delivering on local housing and homelessness priorities. The CAB/CE survey was targeted at members of CABs and CEs to gain their perspective on local systems planning as the groups that determine the local homelessness priorities and administer federal funding accordingly.

The second survey of Housing and Social Service Stakeholders contained similar content and questions, but was aimed at capturing a wider range of managers and frontline workers that are not representatives on CABs or within a CE. Their responses help identify perspectives on local systems planning work from outside of the federally mandated planning bodies under HPS and identify local strengths and gaps in their communities’ efforts to address homelessness.

Systems Planning Collective logoThe Systems Planning Collective is led by A Way Home CanadaCanadian Observatory on Homelessness and Turner Strategies and is dedicated to helping communities and governments to prevent and end all forms of homelessness in Canada by supporting evidence-based systems planning, capacity building and technical assistance.

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