The homelessness sector already knows that the only way to truly solve the problem of homelessness is to shift towards preventing it before it happens. In fact, in our recent Youth Homelessness Prevention Needs Assessment survey, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness found that 90% of people working in the sector are very supportive of prevention. However, many people still need more clarity about what prevention entails and how to do it.

What are the systems changes and structural shifts which reduce the likelihood that someone will experience homelessness? What are the intervention strategies that can support people who are at high risk of homelessness or who have recently become homeless? How can we ensure that people who have experienced homelessness—and who are now housed—do not experience homelessness again?

Introducing: A New Panel Series on Homelessness Prevention

In today's webinar, we made an exciting announcement: the COH is launching a new online series to delve into questions around homelessness prevention. Prevention Matters! is a series of expert panel sessions that will highlight groundbreaking prevention initiatives in Canada and beyond.

There are constantly brilliant things happening in the area of homelessness prevention. But too often, these innovations are communicated about in ways that are dry or theoretical. That is why these sessions won’t be your typical webinar. Audience participation is at the heart of this series, giving you the chance to define what is most interesting and discuss it with our experts directly. Our sessions will also provide space for open dialogue among those on the panel, allowing new insights to emerge.

On the last Wednesday of every month at 12 PM EST, hosts from the COH will interview expert panelists about their projects and key learnings, before opening the discussion up for Q&A with online participants. 

What Is Prevention?

Our webinar this week with Stephen Gaetz, president and CEO of the COH, can be thought of as the launch event in our series. It discussed Prevention 101, and Stephen outlined the homelessness prevention framework, which is adapted from the public health model. This framework highlights the need for a multi-layered approach to homelessness prevention and provides a range of prevention interventions that should be carried out simultaneously. Check out the full framework to learn more!

Coming Up: Black Youth Homelessness, Family and Natural Supports and More

We look forward to bringing you inspiring conversations with experts working towards the common goal of ensuring that everyone has a safe space to call home. In the coming months, our panelists will have powerful insights to share with you, and your engagement will help us uncover new lessons about what it takes to end homelessness. The next session on February 28, hosted by the COH’s Nathan Okonta, will be focused on preventing Black homelessness. As Nathan wrote back in 2022: 

"I have always viewed Black History Month as both a time to take stock of Black communities’ collective struggles for visibility as well as to celebrate their contributions to the advancement of Canada. However, the prevalence of homelessness among Black youth suggests that there is still work to be done. … To address homelessness, we must understand the roots of racial disparities and take meaningful action to reverse structural inequities."

We are very excited to host a conversation that sheds a new light on distinct considerations for preventing homelessness among Black youth!

On March 27, we will host a discussion on the Family and Natural Supports approach with guests from several organizations that are putting that model into practice. The goal of FNS is to “strengthen youth’s relationships with family as well as other natural supports including meaningful adults in their lives.” FNS is for everyone who works with youths. As Heidi Walter of A Way Home Canada wrote,“The core principles of FNS should be the foundation of all programs. From shelter to housing, outreach to drop in, we prioritize and place youth and their family at the centre.” 

Our other discussions will highlight critical topics such as duty to assist legislation in Wales, child protection services, Indigenous homelessness prevention, school-based prevention, and more.

Interested? Sign Up Now!

Live discussion sessions will continue on the last Wednesday of each month at noon from February-June and September-November. Each discussion will be posted on YouTube shortly after it occurs, so if you are unable to participate in the discussion, it’s easy to catch up later. 

Want to stay up to date on the series and be sent the link to register? Sign up for our newsletter on the Homeless Hub.

We look forward to seeing you there!