This week the four full-time Homeless Hub staff members, one of our students and our post-doctoral visiting fellow attended the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness' first National Conference on Ending Homelessness. We were gratified by the overwhelming support and thanks that we received for our work. We were frequently asked (including at a panel on our work) “how many of you are there?” Contrary to public opinion, the work of the Hub is done by a small staff, a large number of students and the support of a great many partners. I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce you to the staff team and outline the work that is done.


Let’s talk about names first. Most people know us as “The Homeless Hub”. You could say that it’s our ‘brand’. Technically, the Homeless Hub is the name of the website that we operate and our paper/report series. We are the recipients of two grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The first grant (which is almost finished) was under the name “Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN)”, while the second (which has just started) is under the name “The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH)”. As a staff team we alternately use CHRN, COH or the Hub depending upon who we are talking to or which aspect of our work we are talking about.

The Work

While we are addressing the question of a new name and how to merge structures we operate three distinct components to our work right now.

CHRN is our network and partnership arm. Through the CHRN we have built a wide variety of local, regional, national and international partnerships to help guide our work. By connecting with other researchers and practitioners across the world we are able to strengthen our knowledge base and work cooperatively and more efficiently.

COH is our research arm. Within this grant we expect to conduct research – or partner with others to support their research – in a variety of areas including: youth homelessness, prevention, systems responses, models of housing and support, criminalization/victimization of homeless people, Aboriginal homelessness and understanding Knowledge Mobilization (KMb). The use of KMb will also be embedded into every research area. We don’t see any of these areas as disparate, stand-alone areas. We believe, for example, Aboriginal homelessness needs to be a priority area on its own but that understanding to and responding to Aboriginal homelessness needs to be part of the work across our research areas.

The Homeless Hub is our brand and our knowledge mobilization arm. Our website is the largest repository of homelessness research in the world. It’s going through a major upgrade right now and will be launched soon with a new “Solutions” section. We also publish books including the recently released Housing First bookpeer-reviewed papersreport series and publications such as the State of Homelessness in Canada.

The graphic below shows how we view this division.

Our work, Knowledge Mobilization, Homeless hub, Research, Canadian Observatory On Homelessness, Networking, Canadian Homelessness Research Network

The People

Contrary to popular belief, the Hub team is pretty small. There are only four full-time staff working for the project. The intimacy of the team leads to lots of practical jokes, nicknames, celebrations of special events and support for the hard parts of life. We work hard and we play hard.

  1. Dr. Stephen “G-Dawg” Gaetz, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education and Director of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. Steve is known as the “PI” or Primary Investigator of our grants. Steve has a background in youth homelessness and worked at Toronto’s Shout Clinic. He is the leading prankster on our team and a brilliant mind. Steve provides the oversight of the operation and directs the research work.
  2. Tanya “Tiege” Gulliver is our Project Coordinator, filling in on a one year maternity leave for Allyson Marsolais who is the Project Manager. This role provides the daily guidance to the staff and takes a lead on much of the day-to-day work.
  3. Stephanie “Steff-Bomb” Vasko is our Communication Manager. She takes the lead on all of our IT, Communications and Design work. It’s a rare combination of skills to have both IT and Design in one body and that enhances the visual work that we do.
  4. Oxana “Roxy” Roudenko is our Communications Officer. She assists Steph with the communications work including the newsletter, website and works on social media including our Facebook page and @homelesshub Twitter handle.
  5. Susan “Agent 99” Atkinson is our part-time administrative assistant who keeps the rest of us sane from all the minutia of managing a large research project inside a large institution.
  6. Naomi Nichols is our brand-new post-doctoral visitor (so new that she doesn’t have a nickname yet, although her son is known as “IceCube”). Naomi supports the research needs and is taking a lead on Systems Responses to Homelessness and Understanding Knowledge Mobilization.
  7. Students – we also have a wide variety of students including undergrad research assistants (Alicia Campney, Alex Moldovan, and Ashley Abbasi – the “A Team”), masters level grad assistants (Fleurie Hunter, Ryan Waters, Isaac [The Iceman] Coplan, Kami [Dr. Kamikaze] Chisholm, Michael Gonzalez) and PhD grad assistants (Amanda Noble, Cristyne Hebert).
  8. Part-time & Contract workers – we are also support by a variety of part-time and contract workers who undertake small writing, research (Fiona Scott), editing (KC Santo, Sarah Jean Harrison), translation (Annick Torfs) or web projects (Sebastien Wan) for us. This fall we have had Sebastien working with us full-time on our web re-design work.

The homeless hub

The Partners

The work that we do would be impossible without all of our partners. We have over 50 formal partnerships with researchers, national and international homelessness bodies and community practitioners. We also have many informal relationships.

The Audience

We aim our work at a variety of audiences including government officials, front-line service workers, community agencies, academics, the general public, people with lived experience and you! We try to make our work understandable by all of these audiences and use the concept of layering our research to make it accessible. This includes creating a summary of a dense research report, highlighting the key points with infographics, using plain language to talk about it and creating tweets and Facebook posts to get it out there.

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