Looking for a good book to cap off your summer? A book that will inspire, inform, or give you the tools to be a better leader? At a recent COH staff meeting, we each shared a book that made an impact on us. Here’s a list of 5 COH staff picks that we think are especially relevant to folks working in the homeless-serving sector and beyond. Read them before summer ends!
1. From the Ashes: My Story of Being Métis, Homeless, and Finding My Way By Jesse Thistle
“In this awe-inspiring memoir, Jesse Thistle shares his powerful story of finding his way home from trauma, addictions, and homelessness through his deeply-rooted relational and cultural connections as a Cree-Métis man. This book opens our eyes to the sustained impacts of racism, and colonial and intergenerational trauma experienced by Indigenous Peoples in Canada today. Thistle's story takes its readers on a journey filled with love, loss, bravery, hope, and incomprehensible perseverance and resilience. This book is a must-read!" - Rachel Caplan, Postdoctoral Fellow
Rachel Caplan is a Postdoctoral Fellow, specializing in community-based research and program evaluation with the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab (MtS DEMS) at the COH. Rachel also serves as a Women’s Homelessness Expert on the Homelessness Learning Hub. Read Rachel’s bio.
Follow Rachel on Twitter
2. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City By Matthew Desmond
“Evicted tells the real stories of eight families struggling with eviction and the search for affordable housing. Based on the author’s immersive research in marginalized communities, these stories shift the common narrative about eviction, labelling it as a cause, not simply a condition of poverty. This book is perfect for anyone interested in a new conversation about poverty, homelessness and economic exploitation. Plus, a number of “Reading Group Guides” can be found on the book’s website, making it perfect for book clubs and educators.” - Lindsay McRae, Communications Officer
Lindsay McRae is a Communications Officer at the COH. She is the lead content developer across the organization’s social media platforms and the curator for its weekly newsletter featuring new research, reports and think pieces on homelessness. Read Lindsay’s bio.
3. Secret Path By Jeff Lemire
''Secret Path is one of my favourite graphic novels because it provides an emotional yet somber recognition of the 60s Scoop and the devastating impact of residential schools on Indigenous Peoples. Secret Path tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a young boy who died trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School by attempting to walk over 600 kms back to his home. This graphic novel is accompanied by music by Gord Downie and wonderful illustrations that capture what Chanie might have experienced on his long walk back to Ogoki Post in Northern Ontario. He never made it home, but this book reminds us of our responsibility, as Canadians, to play an active role in supporting the preservation of Indigenous lives, histories, cultures and stories." - Anika Mifsud, Postdoctoral Fellow
Anika Mifsud is a Postdoctoral Fellow with the Research and Evaluation team at the COH. She is also a member of the Systems Planning Collective, and the resident Systems Planning Expert on the Homelessness Learning Hub. Read Anika's bio.
Follow Anika on Twitter.
4. Shared Space and the New Nonprofit Workplace By China Brotsky, Sarah M. Eisinger, Diane Vinokur-Kaplan
"Shared Space and the New Nonprofit Workplace emphasizes the practical by providing those in the homeless-serving sector with a step by step, easily readable guide to creating shared work spaces. As someone who used to work in the charitable sector, I appreciated the broad range of solutions offered from simple, low cost (ex. moveable desks) to more ambitious suggestions (ex. fee for service revenue streams like event planning and bookkeeping)." - Callum Haney, Research Assistant
Callum is a Research Assistant providing data and content management support to both the communications team and Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Demonstration Lab (MtS DEMS) at the COH. Read Callum's bio.
Follow Callum on Twitter
5. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity By Kim Scott
"Radical Candor offers a simple and effective model that explains that to be a good boss, you must simultaneously care personally and challenge directly. Although designed for the tech-world, the learnings in Radical Candor are applicable to any sector. I can share from experience that Radical Candor delivers on its promise to help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives." - Chelsea Barnett, Communications Manager
Chelsea Barnett is the Communications Manager at the COH. She plays an instrumental role in the innovative Knowledge Mobilization outputs of the organization, the ongoing growth of the Homelessness Learning Hub, and in supporting organizational change management.