Research can and should play a vital role in debates about solutions to homelessness, by educating the public, and providing solid evidence that informs policy and practice at all levels of government and in the social, health care and housing sectors. In universities academic research on homelessness is conducted by researchers in sociology, education, social work, law, medicine, anthropology and criminology, to name but a few. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is a coordinating body that brings together researchers to help them coordinate, share and distribute their work and also conducts research of its own.

Grey literature refers to research produced and published by government and by community-based agencies. Different levels of government in Canada – federal, provincial and municipal - often conduct or contract research to inform policy. There has also been a great deal of community-based research generated on homelessness in Canada, much of which involves intervention evaluations.