“As our understandings of how to effectively respond to homelessness evolve, we need to take a closer look at prevention.”

The typology of homelessness prevention is an integrated systems approach addressing the complex interplay of individual, relational, institutional, and structural or societal factors that produce and sustain homelessness. This typology includes five categories intended to organize the various activities that must take place to prevent homelessness.

Western University
March 27, 2018

While pathways into homelessness are diverse, personal or family finances play a significant role. Finances might be the primary pathway, such as through housing loss related to a change in income status (job loss, relationship change, disconnection from social assistance), or a related component, such as in the context of substance use or for youth who flee family violence. 

Media Folder: ...
March 15, 2018

“If we want to stop people dying on roads, we invest money in seatbelts, not in the emergency department. In the same way in regards to homelessness, why would we wait to intervene with a young person when they’re in crisis, when we can intervene early and keep them at home, and in school and engaged?” – Peter Jacobson, manager, youth services, BCYF, Australia

Media Folder: ...
Western University
March 08, 2018

The relationship between child welfare systems and homelessness is becoming clearer, with almost 60% of youth who experience homelessness in Canada having had contact with the child welfare system. Inadequate supports through the transition out of care can become a pathway into homelessness for...

“Most people intuitively understand that it is better to prevent a bad thing from happening – cancer, car accidents, etc. – than to deal with the consequences.”

For more than two decades, emergency services in the forms of soup kitchens and shelters, have been the dominant response to homelessness. While these services are important in helping meet people’s immediate needs, it does not have the effect of reducing...

October 20, 2017

The field of behavioral economics offers a unique perspective into the phenomenon of homelessness – one that focuses on individual behavior and unites economic, social, and psychological factors in a way that previous models have not. This approach advocates a conception of homelessness as the result of a series of conscious choices, and recommends a focus on these choices as opportunities for intervention. It examines how and why individuals are forced to make choices that may result in...

Today, A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness are releasing a revised version of our federal youth homelessness policy brief. Opportunities to influence public policy and investment concerning youth homelessness abound.

As described in previous blog posts, A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness take a “solutions-focused advocacy” approach to working...

Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, York University
September 14, 2017

To end homelessness, we have to prevent it from happening in the first place. But how do communities shift to prevention? And how do we engage in prevention consistently and on a national scale for maximum impact?

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) has developed a plan for the federal government to prioritize prevention. This plan, when coupled with the current investment in Housing First, will create positive outcomes for those at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness....

This year, I was privileged enough to be part of a team of committed people involved in the production of a policy brief called “Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada.”

The policy brief is based on the results of the 2016 pan-Canadian study on youth homelessness, “Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey,” which found 57.8% of youth experiencing homelessness reported some type of involvement with child...

By Melanie Redman, Executive Director, A Way Home Canada and Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Director, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and Professor at York University

In the midst of so much happening at federal, provincial/territorial and municipal levels concerning housing and homelessness, it’s important that we don’t lose sight of some of the most vulnerable people in Canada: youth experiencing homelessness. 

Yesterday, along with MP Adam Vaughan, A Way Home Canada...


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The analysis and interpretations contained in the blog posts are those of the individual contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.