The seeming complexity of homelessness tends to obscure what is a much more simple and straightforward problem: a lack of safe, affordable and appropriate housing, as well as income and supports. The dramatic reduction of investment in affordable housing units across the country since the 1990s, combined with the rise in and the financialization of the housing market largely accounts for the increase in homelessness today. A Canadian solution to homelessness requires active leadership, participation and investment in affordable housing by all levels of government, plus creative engagement with the non-profit and private sectors.
But ending homelessness requires that we do more than simply help people to get access to housing. Our focus is on understanding and promoting effective models and practices related to housing and supports that promote safety well-being, identifying underlying principles that frame program effectiveness, and highlighting key examples in order to facilitate widespread adoption and adaptation. There is particular focus on the role of Housing First in Canada, and the challenges that exist to implement it in this country in certain contexts and with a variety of populations (i.e. Indigenous Peoples, youth, women fleeing violence, newcomers, rural or underserved communities). The framework for Housing First for Youth was developed in Canada by the COH in collaboration with community partners.