A Way Home Canada
July 11, 2018

When I first started at A Way Home Canada, one of the areas I found most exciting was our work with the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness. The Learning Community is a pan-Canadian community consisting of leading youth-serving organizations across the country who work collaboratively on key issues, share emerging and promising practices, and develop strategies and tools to strengthen our sector and work towards preventing and ending youth homelessness in Canada.

The Learning Community is working to achieve a reduction in the length of time that youth experience homelessness through prevention programs and improved practices and policies. The primary focus is to increase the capacity of our sector to improve how we manage youth homelessness at the organization and local community levels. This is done through the following three areas of work:

1. Active community of practice

2. Youth Voice

3. Informing the national policy agenda

I was thrilled to be part of the annual in-person Learning Community meeting this past May in Calgary. We spent three days discussing emerging issues in the sector, affirming our strategic priorities (housing, Indigenous youth, prevention and youth voice), and designing our work plan for 2018-19.

At our 2017 in-person meeting, we finalized our Theory of Change model. We began our meeting this year discussing our process for measuring our success. Our main question was: Are we completing tasks based on our priorities?

The Learning Community is dedicated to creating inclusive spaces for young people and staff. A few years ago, the group designed its LGBTQ2S Toolkit (an online resource that supports service providers to better support LGBTQ2S young people). Currently, our focus is creating culturally safe places for Indigenous young people. At this year’s meeting, Nikketa Campbell and Kelly Holmes from Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) in Winnipeg facilitated a session on the work done at RaY to ensure that staff and their programming are culturally inclusive. They provided us with some important calls to action, including: speaking about racism and stereotyping when we see it happening at our organizations, examining where and why cultural harm occurs, and consistently reflecting on workplace culture. We all have much work to do, but I encourage you to consider how you can start implementing these calls to action yourself, wherever you may work.

Another main topic of discussion was the Opioid Crisis and where communities need the most support. Prior to the in-person meeting, the group had several discussions about the issue. The discussion in Calgary focused on three themes: resources (what resources are needed and what resources are available); staff safety; and crisis response protocols. This year we will continue to work through these themes, with the guidance of the Learning Community’s Leadership Team.

There were also presentations on the amazing shelter diversion work happening in the Cambridge/Waterloo area by Argus. Afterwards, we had a presentation about the HelpSeeker App (dubbed Yelp for social services!). Finally, we spent an afternoon learning about how to impact policy within our communities across Canada, and heard more about the incredible work being done to prevent and end youth homelessness at Boys and Girls Club Calgary (the folks who generously hosted our meeting this year).

On the last day, we identified key areas of work for us to dedicate efforts to throughout the next year with Indigenous youth in housing, in prevention, and with youth voice.

As you can see, it was a jam-packed three days. And though we spent time celebrating what the Learning Community has been able to achieve as a group over the past year, we all left recognizing that there is still so much work to be done improving practices and policies to reduce the length of time youth may experience homelessness in Canada.

Personally, I am looking forward to seeing all that the Learning Community does this year! If you are doing exciting work in youth homelessness and would like to get your organization involved with the Learning Community, please check out our General Membership page and sign up for more information here.

DePaul University
July 05, 2018

 

What is Coordinated Assessment?

Communities across the globe are adopting coordinated assessment in an effort to more efficiently allocate scarce housing resources based on the support service needs of single adults, youth, and families experiencing homelessness. Through coordinated assessment, all people experiencing homelessness in a given continuum of care or local jurisdiction participate in a standardized assessment of their mental health, medical, and social vulnerabilities. Based on assessment scores, individuals are triaged to housing services offering varying levels of support services, and centralized waitlists for housing resources in the community are prioritized accordingly. 

Why is Evidence-based Coordinated Assessment Important?

Coordinated assessment instruments are at the foundation of centralized housing waitlists. Without a strong foundation, the whole house may come crumbling down. Instruments that do not accurately assess an individual’s housing support service needs may unintentionally reduce a highly vulnerable individual’s opportunity for housing. Alternatively, inaccurate assessment may inappropriately prioritize a person with lower support service needs for costly housing interventions like permanent supportive housing. In some cases, a difference of one point on an assessment instrument could determine whether a person is prioritized for a particular type of housing service. Ineffective housing prioritization has major implications for the wellbeing of vulnerable people and for the systems serving them.

Due to the complexities associated with homelessness, what it means to be “vulnerable” or “self-sufficient” cannot be objectively measured. Therefore, we are left developing assessment tools composed of items that we believe—or research would suggest—measure these concepts. However, there are numerous considerations to take into account when it comes to developing effective measurement tools. For example, the types of questions, the response options, and the overall assessment approach can influence whether people respond accurately on an assessment. 

Psychometric research is used in many fields that lack objective measurements of concepts of interest. In the field of clinical psychology, psychological assessment measures of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions undergo rigorous research and vetting before they are recommended for use in research and clinical application. Unfortunately, the same process did not occur before coordinated assessment unfolded, despite the high stakes involved. There is currently very limited evidence to support the psychometric properties of instruments available for coordinated assessment. In other words, we do not know whether we are building our houses on shaky foundations.

Overview of the Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool

The Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool (VI-SPDAT), now on its second version, has been widely adopted for coordinated assessment. The VI-SPDAT was designed for rapid, interview-style administration that can be applied with minimal training, making it a desirable choice for communities tasked with assessing a large homeless population. The instrument primarily relies on the self-report of those assessed; the original version also included four observer-rated items indicating a subjective evaluation of the extent of impairment related to daily living skills, physical health conditions, substance use, and mental health observed by the assessor. VI-SPDAT items are grouped under four subdomains: History of Housing and Homelessness, Risks, Socialization and Daily Functions, and Wellness. The VI-SPDAT triages people for three housing types, or housing assessments, based on their score: a) permanent supportive housing (i.e., permanent housing subsidies with housing support services) for those reporting the greatest range of vulnerability, b) rapid rehousing (short-term housing subsidies or other financial support and temporary support services) for those scoring in the moderate range, and c) mainstream affordable housing (i.e., individuals directed toward mainstream affordable housing options) for those scoring in the minimally vulnerable range. 

In addition to its ease of use and other potential strengths, the VI-SPDAT has gained traction due to the developers’ assertions that it is “evidence-informed” and the strongest tool available based upon its evidence and testing. However, the evidence base for the VI-SPDAT versions 1 and 2 is largely unclear. Indeed, there has been little to no independent research conducted on the tool’s reliability and validity. 

Our Research

We recently published a study in which we used Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) data from a continuum of care in a Midwest county in the United States to assess several types of reliability (i.e.,  the extent to which an assessment tool gets consistent results) and validity (i.e., the extent to which an assessment tool measures what it intends to measure) of the first version VI-SPDAT for single adults. Here is an overview of our main findings:

  • The VI-SPDAT did not produce consistent results. In terms of reliability, we found individuals that were administered the VI-SPDAT twice did not produce consistent scores. In fact, 89% produced either higher or lower scores during their second administration. The observer-rated items were not reported consistently across administrations, suggesting the omission of these items in the VI-SPDAT version 2 likely improved the tool.
  • The questions did not fully measure the concept of “vulnerability”. In terms of the validity, we found that several questions on the VI-SPDAT were not strongly related, or were related in an unexpected way (e.g., the presence of a health condition was associated with lower vulnerability), with the concept of vulnerability and/or with the VI-SPDAT subdomains. The Socialization and Daily Functions domain and health-related items on the Wellness domain demonstrated particularly poor validity.
  • The type of housing support a person had was a better predictor of returning to homelessness than their VI-SPDAT score. It is reasonable to expect that individuals who are more vulnerable are at higher risk of housing instability or homelessness than those who are less vulnerable. However, among individuals in this study who were permanently housed after taking the VI-SPDAT, higher scores were only marginally associated with the likelihood they would re-enter homeless services (a proxy measure for housing stability). Rather, the type of housing a person obtained (i.e., rapid rehousing or unsubsidized housing) was a stronger predictor of increased risk of homeless service re-entry.

Main Takeaways

It is important to acknowledge that this study was conducted in the context of community implementation and not under standardized or experimental conditions. While the psychometric properties of the instrument in “ideal” circumstances remain unclear, our findings are likely more representative of the tool’s effectiveness when being used in practice. Findings suggest the VI-SPDAT has weaknesses in its reliability and validity. These weaknesses may result from problems with the tool itself, how it is used in real-world practice, or individuals’ tendencies to inaccurately disclose sensitive information. 

Coordinated assessment and centralized housing prioritization procedures vary widely. Communities that have adopted the VI-SPDAT as the primary method for making housing recommendations should integrate other assessments that are more comprehensive in nature and that include other sources of information in addition to self-report. Additional research and development of the VI-SPDAT and other coordinated assessment instruments, such as the Vulnerability Assessment Tool, can help improve these tools and ensure people are prioritized appropriately and given the support services and housing they need.

You can read the full study here

It is possible to prevent and ultimately end youth homelessness. This is our mantra. We wholeheartedly believe this. One role that A Way Home Canada plays in seeding and supporting this international movement for change is elevating and sharing the important work our partners are engaged in on the ground. Almost daily, we remind ourselves how critical it is to think and act like a movement, and not like an organization. This month we turn the spotlight to Newfoundland and Labrador, where efforts are underway to do just that - act like a movement.

Choices for Youth in St. John’s is a long-time member of the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness. Over the years, they have contributed exponentially to this international movement for change. At the same time, they have been laying the groundwork for a provincial strategy to prevent and end youth homelessness. This dedication is paying off. A Way Home Canada is proud to work alongside them in support of these efforts. For the last year, we have been part of a cross-sectoral working group led by Choices with substantial involvement from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Nunatsiavut Government, and a growing list of community partners across the province and the country. Together we’re identifying provincial policy levers on which we can build our work - and there are many of them. 

Thanks to an unprecedented alignment across multiple government departments and community agencies and a powerful youth voice, Newfoundland and Labrador is on the verge of systems change that has the potential to make it a leading jurisdiction in providing support to at-risk and homeless young people.

Driven by the 54 recommendations of an All-Party Committee on Mental Health and Addictions, major change is already well underway in the province’s mental health and addictions care system. It is notable that the first priority in the recommendations involves supports to vulnerable families, identifying the importance of prevention and early intervention. The education system is also making a major shift, driven by the 82 recommendations from a Premier’s Task Force on Improving Educational Outcomes included in their Now is the Time report. Relevant components of this work include the need for an early identification system regarding attendance, mental health and addictions, and youth homelessness. The housing and homelessness system in the province is also in the process of transformation, with a new Housing and Homelessness Plan expected in the coming months. This plan will align with the work of End Homelessness St. John’s and will add additional frameworks such as the adapted Housing First Framework for Youth. The provincial government has also announced a new Children, Youth and Families Act. This new legislation substantially reconfirms the vital importance of systemically supporting vulnerable families and youth as preventative measures to harm and re-traumatization, which far too often leads to youth homelessness. This legislation also contains a specific commitment to focus on improving outcomes for Indigenous youth. Outside of government, Choices for Youth is embarking on an expansion of its programming outside of St. John’s for the first time and many other community agencies are looking to provide more wrap-around services for vulnerable youth. Taken together, this is an extraordinarily far-reaching and well-aligned set of reforms.

A couple weeks back David French, Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Terrilee Kelford, Dr. Steve Matthias and I all made the journey to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador for a Social Innovation Summit hosted by Choices for Youth. This two-day event brought together people with lived expertise, Indigenous leaders, policy makers, politicians, youth leaders, service providers, etc. to continue the important work of building the provincial strategy. One of the outcomes of the meeting was the drafting, revising, and adoption of the following “Statement of Principles: Support for Vulnerable Youth in Newfoundland and Labrador”. These principles are applicable to all of our collective efforts to prevent and end youth homelessness. Our hope is that these principles will help guide your efforts to develop and implement systems plans to prevent and end youth homelessness.

We the undersigned agree that the following core principles, which incorporate and build on the principles of Housing First for Youth, should be consistent across our work. This means consistency across all systems and organizations that support youth and emerging adults, and particularly systems and organizations supporting youth who are more likely to be marginalized. This includes Indigenous, racialized, and LGBTQI2S youth and youth with disabilities as well as those facing mental health challenges, addictions, family breakdown, and involvement with the child protection or criminal justice systems.

1. Recognize the distinct needs of young people and emerging adults

Systems of support and how they are delivered must be strengths-based and aligned with the unique ways children, youth, and emerging adults function, think, and interact.

2. Reduce barriers

All organizations have a responsibility to identify barriers to access (including administrative barriers such as wait times and hours, policy barriers such as age limits, as well as cultural and geographic barriers) and to work to eliminate them. Programs should instead be flexible, needs-based, and culturally appropriate for the young people they serve.

3. Focus on prevention

Interventions with children and youth should be prioritized, made as early as possible and include the provision of support for their families, with the goal of avoiding future challenges and strengthening connections with their existing community of support. Efforts should be made to identify those who are a risk of educational disengagement, family breakdown, connection to child welfare and related systems, involvement in the criminal justice system, and use of  crisis response systems.

4. Family-centered interventions

Support systems should encourage the participation of young people’s families (however young people define them), help strengthen those families and explicitly focus on supporting young parents and their children from the beginning of pregnancy.

5. Youth choice and self-determination

Systems supporting youth should be co-designed by youth to offer the maximum amount of choice – including in housing options, support interventions, and opportunities to engage in training, education, employment and leadership, all without judgment. Service providers should work to ensure that seeking support is in itself an affirming, supportive, low-risk act.

6. Support for Indigenous youth

A commitment to reconciliation means a commitment to Indigenous youth. Indigenous young people face a challenging landscape of intergenerational trauma and discrimination. Systems supporting youth must recognize this and support the strengthening of connections to culture, to the land, and to the community for Indigenous youth, while recognizing the diversity of Indigenous cultures and experiences. This work must be led by Indigenous organizations and communities, whose ways of working and knowing provide important lessons for all, and particularly for service providers.

7. Support for LGBTQI2S youth

Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, Questioning, Intersex, or Two-Spirited (LGBTQI2S) youth face much higher risks of family breakdown, homelessness and violence and require targeted supports. These supports must recognize how different kinds of marginalization intersect. They must also include education for service providers and communities, and engage peers, schools, and families in the struggle against homophobia.

8. Harm reduction

Services for youth and emerging adults should be designed to meet them where they are at, regardless of behaviour or the choices they are able to make at any given time (e.g. addictions, mental health challenges, criminal-justice involvement, attendance, etc.). Instead, they must be provided with the resources and tools they need to attain maximum safety in their current circumstance as well as being offered additional support aimed at long-term stability and growth. Service providers must focus on the training and support needed to make their staff champions of this approach in the community, and on providing diverse service options that still offer youth choice.

9. Integrated services (integrated models of care) and coordinated access

Closer integration, prioritization and information-sharing between programs, organizations, and systems should be an explicit goal of all youth service providers, and should extend to a broad network of organizations that includes all levels of government, community organizations, and the private sector.  This includes low-barrier and province-wide coordinated access to a wide range of support services, as well as physical co-location of youth supports.

10. Targeted supports for the most vulnerable

The most vulnerable youth (those facing multiple, overlapping barriers related to addictions, mental health, family breakdown, and involvement with the justice system) often have the most limited access to resources and can be very difficult to engage. Targeting engagement and supports towards these youth, particularly supports focused on prevention, helps avoid lifelong impacts and system involvements and should be a priority for youth-serving organizations. When services are not accessible, service providers must work to provide alternative options.

11. Trauma-informed practice

Supports and organizational practices should be designed to recognize that many young people seeking support have experienced one or more types of trauma, and to acknowledge the distinct impacts of intergenerational trauma. Service providers should always be seeking education on the impacts of trauma and how to respond to them so as to provide trusting and nonjudgmental spaces for youth.

12. Support for youth and emerging adults with disabilities

Youth and emerging adults with disabilities have equal rights to support and to opportunities to thrive. Service providers must identify ways to make programs more inclusive and to provide targeted supports where needed.

13. Recognizing Intersectionality

While providing targeted supports is important, it is also important to recognize that many young people and emerging adults live at the intersection of multiple identities, strengths, and risks and should not need to self-identify within one particular group to receive support.

14. Celebrating successes and strengths

Service providers should make every effort to identify and celebrate the many ways in which each young person has strengths, achieves successes (however small), and how they can be a support to their peers.

St. Leonard’s Society of Canada
June 26, 2018

While there is no explicit mention of people who have been involved with the justice system, the good news about the Government of Canada’s recently released Reaching Home Strategy is that it introduces bold changes and a human rights-based approach. Further, this approach was detailed by the Minister of Children, Families, and Social Development, highlighting that: 

A human rights-based approach to housing is one that focuses on ensuring that every Canadian has access to a safe and affordable place to call home. It is an approach that is integrally linked to…homelessness, poverty and the need to create opportunities for all Canadians to thrive. It is also an approach that is grounded in the core principles of inclusion, accountability, participation and non-discrimination. (emphasis added).

This is exactly the kind of statement that can support progressive change within the community corrections sector for people who have been in conflict with the law. Many voluntary sector organizations like St. Leonard’s Society of Canada (SLSC) take mission-driven, evidence-informed approaches to researching and promoting “what works” in community corrections. SLSC’s research findings have repeatedly been linked to effective housing supports for sentenced people exiting Canadian penitentiaries, and those discharged from halfway houses. 

Formerly incarcerated people who experience homelessness do not earn sympathy from most Canadians, particularly in comparison to those identified as having the greatest need. The launch of the National Housing Strategy indicated that a Federal Housing Advocate and National Housing Council will be established. When appointed, it is critical that they consider that the majority of those identified as being in the greatest need – i.e. homeless women, seniors, newcomers, Indigenous people, people with disabilities, veterans, youth, and people with mental health or addictions challenges – comprise many of those incarcerated within Canada’s jails and penitentiaries. Given this, it is essential that the inclusion of justice-involved persons are built into their mandate. This is well established by the Correctional Service of Canada, which has indicated:

  • Approximately 75% of people entering the prison system struggle with serious substance abuse;
  • A significant percentage of incarcerated men and women are identified as having severe mental illness;
  • A high prevalence of learning disabilities and challenges with day-to-day functioning; and,
  • Indigenous Peoples are vastly overrepresented at all points in the criminal justice system. 

As outlined in the COH’s Framework for Homelessness Prevention, people exiting public systems like correctional facilities are highly vulnerable to becoming homeless which serves as a key point of intervention for homelessness prevention efforts. Of particular concern are the high rates of aging and elderly people who are incarcerated in Canada without adequate supports inside prison, or in the community when they are released. Unfortunately, outcomes for justice involved youth are not much better. Youth released from detention/open custody facilities face significant barriers to housing – especially since their justice involvement often prevents them from accessing youth shelter options. 

SLSC has been encouraged by studies that demonstrate the bidirectional relationship between homelessness and criminalization; and which have supported service providers to implement evidence-informed housing programs for their residents. However, there are unique challenges for people exiting correctional institutions that reduce their access to safe, supported housing and increase their risk of homelessness. For example, legal discrimination by landlords against people with a criminal record virtually eliminates access to the private rental market. Additionally, opportunities to access funding to study the intersection of homelessness and criminal justice are scarce, as is funding to establish community-based housing for this population.   

Too often, people in these circumstances enter the criminal justice system as a result of gaps within our social systems; and, become further stigmatized, excluded, and ‘relabeled’ on account of a criminal record which deems them ‘undeserving’ of support. As the Government of Canada and its partners move ahead on the National Housing Strategy, a truly bold move would ensure that when we talk about “all Canadians” deserving a home, that they mean it and include Canadians who have been incarcerated.

June 20, 2018

Introduction: What are the Pathways towards Homelessness for Refugees?

As with any other vulnerable populations, refugees in Canada are subject to marginalization, discrimination, employment and income-related struggles, all of which take a toll on their social, physical, and psychological well-being. The needs of refugees are often different from other populations, as many are adjusting to a new socio-cultural environment, a new language, and often lacking in social/financial capital.

Discrimination continues to be challenge for many persons accessing services, and housing is no exception. Landlords, real estate agents, and mortgage financers typically serve as the gatekeepers of housing and if discrimination exists on the part of these individuals, a gigantic barrier is erupted for refugees in regard to attaining adequate housing.

Snapshot of Refugee Homelessness in Canada

In recent years, Canada has been experiencing a significant increase in the number of refugees entering the country. At the same time, the number of refugees among those experiencing homelessness in Canada has been drastically increasing. In Toronto alone, there was a leap from 490 refugee claimants per night in shelters to an alarming 2,350 per night in two years.

The city of Toronto expects refugees to make up 54% of the spaces by November 2018. If refugee occupancy rates in the shelter system remain at 40%, the temporary motel housing for refugees is expected to cost the city around $64 million this year. Here are some numbers:

  • In late 2016, refugees made up around 11% of Toronto’s shelter system. By April 2018, that number has jumped to 37.5% (about 2,351 refugees in Toronto’s 6800-bed system).

  • As of late April 2018, 7,612 asylum seekers have crossed into Canada. This is comparable to the 2,749 asylum seekers that entered Canada around the same time in 2017.

  •  In Toronto alone, 2,683 refugee claimants are housed within the Toronto shelter system, making up 41% of the shelter population.

However, we have also seen positive work being done for refugees. In Quebec, where the majority of asylum seekers are crossing, initiatives are being taken to expedite the integration of these individuals into the job market. The government decreased wait times for work permits from 3 months to 3 weeks alongside creating a triage system allocating people to regions in need of labourers, mostly in rural parts of Quebec.

Service Issues

Shelters and drop-in programs are not properly equipped with the resources to accommodate newcomers and refugees experiencing homelessness. Furthermore, there are systemic issues (i.e. discrimination, violence against women) that occur, which make it unsafe for certain groups of individuals. The shelter system needs to head towards development for a more accessible, appropriate and responsive system in order to accommodate a broader spectrum of people.

The concept of cultural competence seems to be lacking within the shelter systems, although it is a vital framework that needs to be adopted especially when dealing with people from a number of different backgrounds. Cultural competency can be defined as the ability of system to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviours including tailoring delivery to meet patients’ social, cultural and linguistic needs. Therefore, taking the lessons from “Nothing about us without us,” it is important that we include these individuals in the process and frameworks to be developed.

Solutions

When considering the various ways to combat refugees’ experiences of homelessness, it is important to recognize the numerous challenges faced by refugees. Unlike other immigrants, refugees are forced to relocate from their home countries, due to intolerable circumstances in their homelands. Taking this into account, services and supports must recognize the trauma and stresses that many refugees endure while trying adapt to a new way of life.

There are supports in place for refugees coming to Canada such as the Resettlement Assistance Program, which provides direct financial help to eligible refugees. There are also various settlement organizations which help to arrange housing and supports.

Meanwhile, a number of barriers get in the way of a refugee’s ability to smoothly transition into their new environment and develop a sense of normalcy. Some of these barriers include: the lack of affordable and adequate housing, the burden of repaying medical, travel and transportation loans to the Canadian government, lack of recognized education or job skills leading to low-wage labour, experiences of trauma, and a lack of social supports or networks in their new environments.

Social supports and services must recognize these obstacles in order to help those who are experiencing homelessness, or at risk of facing homelessness, to gain stable, affordable housing and resettle in their new place of residence. Some of the next steps taken may include the following:

  • Because it is often easier for settlement organizations to find affordable and suitably sized housing for refugees and their families in smaller urban centres, different transportation options need to be available. Some of these options may include: ride sharing, taxi buses, self-service bicycle and car rentals, and coaching for driver’s education (especially for women).

  • Specialized assistance, trauma-informed care and/or counselling may be needed for refugees who have experienced traumatic events, including the process of their relocation.
  • Supports should be put in place to ensure that there are sufficient resources for private sponsors of refugees, particularly when it comes to their orientation and mentoring activities.
  • More affordable housing, including social housing funded by the federal government, could improve the living conditions for many refugees.
  • Adequate planning, quick responses and local initiatives can serve as preventative measures, so that incoming refugees do not experience homelessness.
  • Services that are delivered in a culturally relevant manner are essential, in order for them to be effective. This can help to ease the uncertainty of refugees who may be facing issues such as language barriers, social and emotional isolation, or having issues navigating the institutional systems in Canada.
  • Efforts to tackle landlord discrimination, including requirements such as having a history of Canadian credit, rental history or not renting to families with children, which can especially exclude refugees from the housing market.

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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.