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 protection services over their lifetime. Compared to Statistics Canada indicating that 0.3% of the general public receive child welfare services, youth experiencing homelessness are 193 times more likely to report interactions with the child welfare system. This finding should shock people; it suggests that we are falling short of obligation to protect and care for children and youth in Canada.
What’s even more outrageous, given the settler colonial context in Canada, is that Indigenous children and youth are over-represented in both child welfare services and among youth experiencing homelessness. In 2016, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled that the federal government discriminates against Indigenous children on reserve by failing to provide the same level of child welfare services that exist elsewhere. Both underfunding (levels of support are lower than the provincial average for children in care who are off reserve) and the approach to delivering care have systematically disadvantaged Indigenous children and youth.
Moreover, the survey also showed LGBTQ2S youth and racialized youth are disproportionately represented among young people experiencing homelessness across Canada due to systemic forms of discrimination.
The stark results of last year’s survey are consistent with previous studies conducted in Canada over the last decade. Structurally and systemically, youth-serving institutions and the Canadian government have been unable to ensure all young people living in Canada experience access to justice – that is, experiences of relational fairness in any institutional setting where policy and law are applied or produced. We have been similarly unable to ensure that all young people have access to the basic things they need to survive: nutritious food, clean water, safe and appropriate housing, and timely access to healthcare services, including those required for mental wellness.
When I was doing the field research for “Youth Work: An institutional ethnography of youth homelessness,” I was shocked to discover how many young people using an Ontario youth shelter had been involved, or were still involved, with the province’s child welfare services. The research suggested that there were insufficient safe and appropriate housing options for adolescent youth in care in some small towns. Once a young person had exhausted the available foster families and group homes designated for youth, there were few options available to the child welfare workers, seeking to ensure the young people in their care were stably housed. In turn, this housing instability often disrupted young people’s access to education and their connections with family and friends.
Over the course of two years of fieldwork, I sought opportunities to collaborate with the local Children’s Aid Society (CAS) agency to do some research for them about young people’s experiences in care, including changes youth would like to see to the delivery of housing supports. I also invited the child protection workers and other local professionals to participate in a professional development opportunities I organized for shelter staff, so that shelter workers could improve their understanding of the institutional and policy organization of other institutional contexts shaping the lives of young people staying at the shelter. Back then, I was a doctoral student desperate to ensure that the research I was doing made some difference to the people who were participating in the project -- youth experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity and the adults seeking to support them.
Since then, I have continued to walk the line between research and policy/practice change, working side-by-side with youth and community organizations to identify problematic policies and practices that contribute to processes of marginalization and exclusion, and then to try to do something about the problems we’ve identified. But it always feels as though this last part remains slightly out of reach. As I also continue to study the ways that knowledge can contribute to social and institutional change processes, I have learned that a certain timeliness or receptivity to an idea is as important as compelling evidence.
Almost a decade ago, when I was a doctoral student working away on my dissertation research with a youth shelter in a small Ontario town, we did some good things at the local level. But none of them led to wide-scale changes to the institutional policies and processes that background young people’s experiences of homelessness and other forms of exclusion. The conditions weren’t right -- there was no “A Way Home Canada,” a national grassroots movement to end youth homelessness. The “Homeless Hub” and the “Canadian Homelessness Research Network (renamed “Canadian Observatory on Homelessness” in 2012),” were in their infancies. Housing First was not a conceptual or pragmatic shift people were talking much about, and nobody was talking about prevention. A lot has changed since then and not just within the homelessness serving/policy/research sectors, but within the other institutional sectors that influence how/whether people experience housing precarity.
On July 19th, Ontario released a blueprint for building a new system of licensed residential services for youth titled, “Safe and Caring Places for Children and Youth.” The blueprint is grounded in the experiences and insights of young people who have experienced residential care in this province. It highlights the importance of youth participation in policymaking processes and articulates a plan to ensure all young people receive safe, high-quality, culturally-appropriate residential care services, whether the use of residential services is part of a child welfare care agreement or protection order or because they are detained under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
In 2014, the province of Alberta similarly raised the upper limit of eligibility for accessing The Support and Financial Assistance Agreement, a post-intervention service available to youth after the age of 18, to 24 years old. Since then, there has been an 80% increase in the number of agreements in the province over the last three years. By expanding the scope of eligibility to include more youth, young people have the opportunity to continue to access services and supports as they transition into adulthood.
Improving the quality, stability and appropriateness of housing and other supports for young people in care is an important way that child welfare organizations can contribute to the prevention of youth homelessness at the Primary Prevention level. Primary prevention of youth homelessness means “working upstream" to address structural and systems factors that more broadly contribute to precarious housing and the risk of homelessness for young people. Child welfare organizations can play a significant role in reducing housing precarity and increasing educational and social stability for young people who rely on residential services during adolescence.
Policy and practice moves to improve access to and experiences of services in Alberta and Ontario also suggest that provinces are paying attention to the ways that institutional practices and policies have contributed to the systemic marginalization of particular groups, and importantly, the role the state can play in rectifying the problems they’ve had a hand in creating.
I encourage provincial and territorial governments to continue to show leadership in this regard. Involve young people in the policy-making process so as to ensure that the decisions we make about their lives and wellbeing reflect their experiences and knowledge. Young people have critical insights that we are wise to heed. Commit to making a substantive contribution to the prevention of youth homelessness by disrupting the flow of young people from state systems of care into housing precarity; intervening to ensure young people do not lose their housing; and ensuring young people who do experience homelessness are supported to become and remain stably housed.
The Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada: A Proposal for Action outlines clear conceptual shifts that are required in order to work together to sever the links between child welfare involvement and youth homelessness. The conceptual shift that underpins all of the recommendations we make are a commitment to equity and human rights. All young people living in Canada have fundamental rights that are encoded in laws and treaties. Human rights treaties provide a constitutional or legal framework to ensure that all people experience fair and equal access to housing, education, healthcare, work, life, safety, justice, freedom of expression, freedom of movement, and freedom from discrimination.
Moreover, the state is responsible for ensuring all people experience these rights. Given the documented links between child welfare system involvement and youth homelessness, among other social, educational, and health issues experienced by children and youth who have been in state care, we need to ensure that the child welfare system actively supports the equitable inclusion and care of all young people. Research on the disproportionate involvement of Indigenous, racialized and LGBTQ2S youth in child welfare services and among street youth populations reveals systemic patterns of inequality, exclusion, and neglect are evident. Clearly, the state has failed to act on its responsibilities as a human rights protector.
Equality cannot be realized by treating everyone the same way. For equality to be realized, an equitable approach to policy-making and service delivery is required. This means putting the needs and experiences of those the state has failed at the forefront of policy and programmatic decision-making, including within the child welfare system and the youth homelessness sector. Following the release of the "Child Welfare and Youth Homelessness in Canada," The COH and A Way Home plans to follow up with the federal, provincial and territorial leaders. This would ensure there is an ongoing dialogue about the recomendations, allowing the COH and A Way Home to support ongoing policy development that align with the recommendations -- not as outsiders, but as partners.
See the recommendations made in our proposal at: http://www.homelesshub.ca/childwelfare
When it came into force in 2000, the Ontario Safe Streets Act (SSA) was a reactionist policy to the increasing visibility of individuals experiencing homelessness across Ontario’s cities, particularly those who would panhandle or squeegee. In an effort to deter those activities, the Act prohibits solicitation in specified spaces and any solicitation in an “aggressive manner.” The fines associated with each offence can be as little as $65 and as high as $1,000.
Seventeen years later, the vaguely worded legislation has proven to have unacceptable consequences for many Ontarians experiencing homelessness. For those unfortunate enough to spend extended periods of their lives living on the streets, these minor fines can have massive effects. Advocates with Fair Change Community Legal Clinic have come across many clients with accumulated fines in the tens of thousands of dollars. Just this past fall, Fair Change made international headlines when they helped Gerry Williams successfully appeal $65,000 of crippling fines.
But tired of a piecemeal approach and disillusioned by government inaction, advocates with Fair Change have taken the battle to court, to prove that the SSA is not only unconscionable, but also unconstitutional.
The SSA and its stubborn existence is evidence of why we must rethink the way we engage our community’s most vulnerable. Beginning in the early 80s, lawmakers in many jurisdictions subscribed to the peculiar view that the best way to help the marginalized is to marginalize them further through imposing fines for partaking in the sorts of activities that they rely on.
As a province, we have sought to address poverty by criminalizing it. Although this logic may have been acceptable 30 years ago, it cannot be tolerated in 2017. Decades of legal and sociological research have demonstrated that this approach is ineffective and inefficient. A report from the Canadian Observatory of Homelessness suggests that the SSA is expensive administratively. Prosecuting the SSA costs the province approximately $2 million per year. But because the vast majority of those issued tickets under the SSA are experiencing homelessness, very few fines are collected. Between 2000 and 2010, only about $8,000 in fines were collected.
This is why many jurisdictions, which adopted this approach to policing many years ago, have long abandoned it. Yet Ontario has somehow fallen behind and this policy seems to be lost in a cycle of harmful inertia. In fact, and what’s perhaps most troubling, tickets issued under the SSA are on the rise.
As the litigation surrounding the SSA continues, we cannot forget that repealing the Act will be only one victory in the larger battle against poverty. As Ontario takes measures to avoid poverty and prevent homelessness, moving away from the SSA would be a vital step in the right direction.
People who experience homelessness are not the problem. The problem is those of us who allow homelessness to persist. So when you’re walking on the sidewalk or driving down the street and see a person experiencing homelessness, you should feel uncomfortable. But rather than burying that feeling or attributing it to the person experiencing homelessness, search for the steps that you can take to address the true problem of poverty. Start by standing against the SSA, but certainly don’t stop there.
Reproductive health deals with the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Although reproductive health is a universal concern, certain groups face inequalities when accessing healthcare. Socioeconomic status, education level, age, ethnicity and religion can all have an influence on how individuals maintain their reproductive health. As a result, people experiencing homelessness who are economically marginalized often do not have access to the supports, resources and information they need.
According to the World Health Organization, reproductive and sexual ill-health accounts for 20% of the global burden of ill-health for women, and 14% for men. Transgender and non-binary individuals who are disproportionally affected by homelessness also face unique reproductive health issues. They face obstacles to accessing quality healthcare, including gender-based discrimination that may occasionally result in refusal of treatment, and a lack of LGBTQ2S cultural competency. Compounded with the discrimination, erasure and transphobia often normalized in the shelter system, the reproductive health care needs of transgender individuals experiencing homelessness are frequently unaddressed.
Evidently, reproductive health is a universal issue that impacts various populations in different and extensive ways. This blog post will focus on three key areas of reproductive health relating to different populations who experience homelessness: menstruation, pregnancy and contraception.
The difficulties associated with homelessness are extensive, and include a lack of food, shelter, healthcare, mental health supports, and other vital resources. People experiencing homelessness who menstruate have the additional burden of managing their periods — a monthly occurrence that is unavoidable and expensive. Combined with the stigma that surrounds menstruation, women, trans men, and other people experiencing homelessness who menstruate often lack support that would help mitigate many of their problems. The upkeep of menstrual hygiene is a matter of dignity, but it is also crucial in order to avoid damaging reproductive and gynaecological health.
A recent study examined how women experiencing homelessness in the U.K. manage menstruations in a context of financial and social vulnerability. Many of the participants interviewed described the difficulty of prioritizing their limited funds for sanitary products. They were forced to make a decision between cheap self-made solutions and more reliable, but expensive, store-bought products. Those unable to purchase menstrual hygiene products have to manage the problems that arise from using homemade solutions, such as chemical irritation or yeast infections. Homemade solutions can also increase the likelihood of toxic shock syndrome and other life-threatening health risks.
Transgender individuals disproportionately experience homelessness when compared to the cisgender population. Those who were assigned female at birth and are grappling with gender dysphoria (distress because of a mismatch between physical appearance and gender identity) may have preferences over the sanitary products they use to reduce their dysphoria. The experience of homelessness and financial vulnerability removes much of the autonomy people have over how they manage their periods. Therefore, in the interests of both mental and physical health, it is important that menstrual products are widely available to those who are unable to afford them.
In Toronto, there is the Period Project, a street outreach group providing people living unsheltered with free sanitary items. In the U.S., there is Distributing Dignity, a women-led non-profit distributing pads, tampons and bras to people accessing homeless shelters, those who have aged out of the foster care system and families impacted by HIV/AIDS. New York City recently became the first city in the U.S. to require public schools, jails, and homeless shelters to provide free pads and tampons. In the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness’s Point-in-Time Toolkit, we recommend that communities include sanitary products as an honoraria item.
Other activist groups and movements advocate for the “tampon tax” be eliminated from state laws to those who cannot afford menstrual products. They argue the opportunities to enjoy fairly priced, tax-free products are not luxuries; rather, they are necessities. Menstruation is often overlooked and forgotten in reports addressing the health needs of people experiencing homelessness, and therefore fails to come to the attention of policymakers and service managers.
Homelessness and pregnancy
The stress of homelessness can have significant negative impacts for those who are pregnant. Due to compromised health, people who are pregnant and experiencing homelessness face greater health risks. They often have difficulty accessing healthcare and prenatal programs, which can result in potential prenatal complications going unnoticed. No one should be without a safe, stable place to call home, especially during pregnancy since this additional strain on the body can be life-threatening. The emotional and psychological aspects of pregnancy, birth, motherhood and/or the loss of a child can have further negative implications, especially for a vulnerable and marginalized population.
Pregnancy rates are also substantially higher among youth experiencing homelessness than in the general youth population. The adversity of life on the streets means that young people are exposed to increased sexual activity with more partners and increased exposure to STIs. To address this, effective and accessible pregnancy prevention and family planning programs for youth experiencing homelessness are needed.
Moreover, the relationship between substance use and homelessness is complex, and rates of substance use are disproportionately high among those experiencing homelessness. There are numerous potential harms associated with the use of substances during pregnancy, including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), which can occur as a result of alcohol use during pregnancy, and Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS), a condition that a newborn may experience if exposed to addictive opiate drugs while in the womb. Homelessness and parental substance use may reduce neonatal well-being through prematurity and low birth weight.
Pre- and post-natal care programs help to prevent potential health problems throughout the course of the pregnancy. Toronto Public Health’s Homeless At-Risk Prenatal (HARP) team provides intensive prenatal case management to high-risk pregnant women experiencing homelessness in Toronto, focusing on service coordination as a primary intervention.
In spite of this, available services go underutilized often because of parents’ reluctance to self-identify as “homeless” or “underhoused.” According to Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care the number of babies born in the past six years to parents while experiencing homelessness in Ontario each year ranged from fewer than five to eight. However, there is a huge discrepancy between the number of pregnancies that occur and the number that are recorded. Young Parents No Fixed Address (YPNFA), a network of organizations working to address the challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness or street-involved youth, pregnant and parenting youth and their children, have found this number to be much higher. As reported in July 2017 by Toronto Star, an estimated 300 babies were born into homelessness in Toronto each year between 2012 and 2014. Parents’ fear of losing custody has prevented them from disclosing their housing status, and has resulted in a significant underrepresentation of the scope of the issue.
Much like menstrual hygiene products, methods of contraception can often be costly and difficult to obtain. In Canada, street nurses play a crucial role in contraceptive education and provision for people experiencing homelessness. This can include distributing condoms and other contraceptives, HIV and pregnancy testing as well as educating those experiencing homelessness on safer sex practices.
People experiencing homelessness, particularly young women involved in the sex trade, are at increased risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including hepatitis, chlamydia, gonorrhea and HIV infection. Also, both men and women experiencing homelessness are at increased risk for disease due to injection drug use, multiple sexual partners and unprotected sex.
While access to contraception has increased substantially in recent years, low-income individuals are still twice as likely to use no contraceptives compared to higher income earners. Accessible birth control is one of the easiest ways to reduce costs on the healthcare system, but unlike in the U.S., U.K. and several countries in Europe, there is no universal subsidy for contraception in Canada.
A recent survey conducted by the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in Canada (SOGC) reported that 61% of Canadian women have had an unintended pregnancy. Following these alarming results, SOGC launched SexandU.ca to raise awareness about contraception and sexually transmitted infections. SexandU.ca provides accurate, credible, and up-to-date information and education on topics related to sexual and reproductive health.
Reproductive health is an extensive topic and this blog post covers only three areas of focus; there are still many other important and complex issues. You can learn more about sex workers and the sex trade in the topics section of our website. You can also help to continue this conversation on the Community Workspace on Homelessness at workspaceonhomelessness.ca.
(Image source: https://www.period.org)
As part of our ongoing commitment to elevating the voices of youth with lived experience of homelessness, A Way Home Canada and the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness have partnered with Street Child United to send a team of Canadian youth to the 2018 Street Child World Cup in Moscow, Russia. This event will be held prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
There are 22 countries participating in the event and this will be the first year with an equal number of boys and girls teams (12 teams for each). The age range of young people participating is 13-17 years old. This will be Canada’s first time participating.
Here is a powerful video produced by Street Child United called "The Power of Football to Change Lives." Street Child United also created a short video from the 2014 World Cup called “Here Come the Girls!” In this video, there is an amazing moment at the 2:50 mark when Indonesia scores its first goal of the tournament and both teams celebrate.
The Street Child World Cup is more than a football (AKA soccer) tournament. It also incorporates arts programming and an international youth congress. At the 2016 Street Child Games, youth designed their “Rio Resolution,” calling for their countries and communities to act and protect all street children’s rights. There are three main points to the Rio Resolution: protection from violence, right to education and the right to identity. In 2018, youth will design their “Moscow Manifesto.”
The Learning Community will support the selection of the players. A Way Home will support the logistics of getting the team to Moscow (fundraising, training and travel). In our first year participating, Canada will send a girls team, which will consist of nine players and three staff members.
Prior to arriving in Moscow in 2018, Team Canada participants will not only show off their soccer skills, but also participate in workshops on public speaking, community organizing, anti-oppression and team building. Our focus is ensuring that Team Canada is prepared for the congress component of the Street Child World Cup. We also want to make sure our players are prepared for returning home after the World Cup is over.
To prepare for the 2018 event, Street Child United hosted a summit in Moscow from June 19 to 23 for the team leaders of the countries participating in the 2018 World Cup. The primary focus of the summit was keeping the young people who will represent their countries at the centre of the World Cup and ensuring they are prepared to participate and for going home post event.
Street Child United shared a great summary of the Summit. “... Delegates shared insights into their work with the world’s most marginalised children, and took part in sessions on topics such as safeguarding and how to organise visas for more than 200 children who have never had a birth certificate or identity card who will travel to Russia next year.” (The Summit has given our movement real momentum.)
For us, it was a great experience to meet the team leaders from the other participating countries and learn from those who are returning for another event. Returning team leaders shared their experiences with the new leaders.
Jessica Hutting, who works at Kampus Diakoneia Modern Foundation (KDM) in Jakarta, Indonesia, shared that the girls on her team were surprised to learn that there were youth experiencing homelessness in countries like England and the U.S. Florence Soyekwo from RETRAK in Uganda highlighted that there was a need to address the economic disparity that exists between countries.
We are excited to be involved with this project and support the convening of Team Canada for the first Street Child World Cup. Stay tuned for updates as this initiative unfolds!
Team leaders from Mexico, Brazil, the U.S. and Canada
Team leaders working in small groups
On May 18, 2017, the Second Annual Canadian Homelessness Data Sharing Initiative took place in Calgary (all slide presentations, as well as photos from the event, are available here). The event was organized by the Calgary Homeless Foundation and the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, and the participants included: people who build datasets (about persons experiencing homelessness); researchers who use that data; persons with lived experience; and public servants.
Here are 10 things to know about this year’s event:
- For the second year in a row, there was strong representation from Canada’s federal government. Five officials from Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) participated, three of whom had formal speaking roles at the event. Aaron Segaert (from ESDC) presented data from more than 200 homeless shelters between 2005 and 2014, showing that:
- the occupancy rate (i.e. % of beds filled each night) across these shelters rose from 83% in 2010 to 92% in 2014;
- the average ‘duration of stay’ by households using these shelters is increasing, especially for families and seniors;
- the number of seniors using homeless shelters annually nearly doubled across Canada between 2005 and 2014.
- This year’s event had strong Quebec representation. Research presented by Annie Duchesne, for example, finds that certain subgroups of persons in Montreal’s largest homeless shelter are more likely to experience chronic homelessness (i.e. long-term homelessness) than others—those subgroups include persons over the age of 50, persons with mental health problems and persons with disabilities.
- Indigenous perspectives were presented. Bonnie Healy’s presentation focused on the work of the Alberta First Nations Information Governance Centre. Topics raised in her presentation included First Nations OCAP principles, a publication titled First Nations – Health Trends Alberta, the First Nations health status report for the Alberta region, the work of the Alberta First Nations Governance Centre, and Indigenous logic models.
- Several data-sharing advocates actively participated in this year’s event. Michael Lenczner, a data-sharing champion in Canada’s social sector, attended and spoke at this year’s event. He stated that, in terms of data sharing, he’s not aware of any other subsector of Canada’s non-profit sector that has an annual forum to discuss the importance of data. He also cited Alberta as a leader in data sharing, making reference mostly to PolicyWise, who’ve worked with government to link client administrative data from multiple ministries. They’re the leaders of this kind of data-linking in Canada, and possibly the world.
- Difficulties with researchers accessing federal homelessness data were raised. Tracey Lauriault is a Carleton University professor who described her past difficulties in trying to access HIFIS data for research. When she did, she was told that her data requests must be sent to community coordinators; yet, federal officials were never able to provide her with a list of community coordinators.
- One of the event highlights was a panel discussion on moving towards increased national integration of Homelessness Management Information Systems (HMIS). As I’ve written before, there are multiple software systems across Canada that keep data on persons experiencing homelessness; many people would like to see increased integration of these systems (possibly into one very large system, or at least the sharing of data among these systems so that researchers can have larger samples for their work). Henry Dagher (ESDC) discussed the evolution of the Homeless Individuals and Families Information System (HIFIS) software system (which is one type of HMIS system). This federally-administered HIFIS system is now operating in more than 100 communities. HIFIS 4 is now web-based and gaining strong momentum; BC Housing is now implementing HIFIS province-wide (spanning approximately 200 service providers). Several panel members suggest that community members need to gain more control of HIFIS (via a stakeholder advisory body with some clout that includes persons with lived experience). As Michael Lenczner puts it: “The tail shouldn’t wag the dog.” Jenn Legate (Calgary Homeless Foundation) raised several operational concerns that need to be kept in mind as we move forward on increased national integration of HIMIS systems—namely, the ongoing costs a server, the cost of migrating data from an old database system to a new system, challenges pertaining to customer service provided by software vendors, and legal barriers to data sharing.
- Important findings were presented from Canada’s recent nationally-coordinated Point in Time Count of homeless persons. Patrick Hunter’s presentation noted that more than 25% of homeless persons enumerated during the 2016 count did not use an emergency shelter during the previous year—I think this speaks in part to conditions in emergency shelters, about which there’s virtually no research. Hunter also reported that Indigenous peoples are nine times more likely to experience homelessness than the rest of Canada’s population; what’s more, more likely to experience longer homeless spells than non-Indigenous people.
- One of the event highlights was a “review of the day” by Stephen Metraux. Metraux, the Director of the Health Policy Program at the University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, gave a ‘wrap up’ presentation that included a short slide presentation. He subsequently wrote a blog post in which he reflected on his experience at the event.
- Several suggestions were made about a ‘way forward.’ Topics that need to be tackled in the future include:
- important work being done by Statistics Canada pertaining to data linking;
- work being done by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, where medical data is being consolidated across provinces (i.e., provinces are sharing health care data);
- better national coordination of HMIS systems;
- more data sharing and standards;
- the possibility of developing a repository of data pertaining to homelessness (see point #7 of this previous blog post); and
- the development of a National Data Strategy for Homelessness.
- This will continue to be an annual event that we expect to be held each year in (or near) Calgary. It may also evolve into a two-day format, with one day focusing on the operational aspects associated with building, maintaining and improving HMIS systems. All of these operational matters are the focus of this biannual event in the United States; yet, no Canadian equivalent currently exists.
In Sum. We hope this annual event will help communities across Canada get closer to ending homelessness. The event web page—with slide presentations and minutes from the event—can be found here.
A blog post written about the First Annual Canadian Homelessness Data Sharing Initiative can be found here.
The author wishes to thank the following individuals for invaluable assistance with this blog post: Vicki Ballance, Ron Kneebone, Eric Latimer, Tracey Lauriault, Kara Layher, Michael Lenczner, Lindsay Lenny, Stephen Metraux and one anonymous source. Any errors lie with the author.
 This 2016 report on conditions inside Out of the Cold facilities and Warming Centres is worth reading. However, it should be noted that the facilities that are the focus of this report are not “homeless shelters” as defined by City of Toronto officials; rather, they operate separately from the formal shelter system.
This blog post has been republished with permission from the Calgary Homeless Foundation website.
Content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives License
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.