COH Publications

One of the key objectives of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is to build a collective and consistent understanding of homelessness in Canada. The COH, in collaboration with dozens of partners, has made significant contributions to the existing evidence base on homelessness. See our publications below.

Reports

This document is part policy provocation and part inspiration. It’s intended for anyone who is interested in learning more about Duty to Assist—an innovative, rights-based approach to homelessness prevention pioneered...
It is time for a proactive, rather than reactive, approach to youth homelessness. The Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness is designed to help service providers, policy makers, communities, advocates,...
Prevention makes sense. To prevent disease, we vaccinate. To prevent traffic deaths, we install seat belts. While we recognize intuitively that preventing homelessness is a good idea, there has been little movement in...
In recent years, policy-makers and service providers have expressed concerns about whether and how Housing First can be applied to the population of young people who experience homelessness. In response, A Safe and...

Definitions

Indigenous homelessness is a human condition that describes First Nations, Métis and Inuit individuals, families or communities lacking stable, permanent, appropriate housing, or the immediate prospect, means or ability...
“Youth homelessness” refers to the situation and experience of young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are living independently of parents and/or caregivers, but do not have the means or ability to acquire a...
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) has developed a definition and typology of homelessness intended to improve understanding, measurement and responses to homelessness in Canada by providing a common ‘...
The concept of “ending homelessness” has been central in public policy and service responses in recent years. Just consider the number of plans, strategies, policy directions and funding announcements to end...

E-Books

Young people experiencing homelessness face many forms of extreme adversity including high rates of mental health and addiction challenges. These challenges lead to high mortality rates and increase the risk of chronic...
This book is an effort to address LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning and two-spirit) youth homelessness in both Canada & the U.S. It includes an examination of the identity-related...
Pandemic outbreaks pose a very real threat to the health of homeless individuals and to the security of the social infrastructure they often rely on for support. Pandemic Preparedness and Homelessness brings together...
This book was produced with strategic intentions: our goal is to leverage collective expertise to produce an evidence base that supports policy and government decision makers, community organizers, institutional leaders...
Have you ever experienced homelessness? Would you like to create change by sharing some of your story? Would you like to tell people who make decisions, people who provide services to you and others who have experienced...
Housing First has proven to be a realistic, humane and effective way of responding to homelessness.  Housing First in Canada: Supporting Communities to End Homelessness is the first book that examines how this approach...
Finding Home aims to fill a gap in the information available on homelessness by providing an easily accessible collection of the best Canadian research and policy analysis on homelessness. The e-book will be permanently...
Youth homelessness is a seemingly intractable problem in Canada. In communities across the country, people are increasingly aware of the sight of young people who are without a home, sleeping in parks, sitting on...

Policy Briefs

As the details of the National Housing Strategy roll out, the Government of Canada continues to make its intentions clear: the forthcoming housing strategy will be rooted in a human rights-based approach. The Canadian...
The concept of “ending homelessness” has had significant impact on public policy and service responses in recent years. Just consider the number of “ending homelessness” plans, strategies, policy directions, and funding...
In a caring and affluent society like Canada, it is unacceptable that any young person would become entrenched in homelessness as a result of family breakdown and systems failures. Despite little evidence that we are...
Before us is a significant opportunity to reimagine the federal government’s leadership role in homelessness. After more than 25 years of declining spending on affordable housing, the Government of Canada is launching a...
With the release of Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey (2016), we now have robust national data on youth homelessness for the first time in Canada. The research findings on the relationship between...
With the release of Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey (2016), we now have national data on youth homelessness for the first time in Canada. The mental health findings of this report are startling:...
Last October, when the Province of Ontario released A Place to Call Home, the report of the expert advisory panel on homelessness, youth homelessness was identified as one of four priority areas for the government. In...
Over the past 16 years, the Government of Canada, through its National Homelessness Initiative and the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, has actively supported communities across the country to address homelessness....

Toolkits

This toolkit is designed to help communities plan and implement accurate Point-in-Time Counts in Canada. The content is aligned with the requirements of the 2018 Coordinated Count, as described in the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Policy Directorate. The toolkit complements Everyone Counts: A...
Introduction Considerable efforts are underway to effectively address youth homelessness in Canada, culminating in the creation of A Way Home – a national coalition focused on mobilizing communities and all levels of government to take action at a local and systems level. A Way Home is committed to...
This federal election, let's make housing a priority and vote housing for all Homelessness has grown to be a large problem in Canada, right about the time that the federal government’s investment in affordable housing declined. Over the last 25 years investments have declined by over 46%, from $115...
Purpose of the Toolkit This toolkit is designed for shelters, housing providers, youth-serving agencies and other organizations concerned about homeless and at-risk youth in Canada. It is outlines some ideas for providing a youth employment project for at-risk youth and is designed to create a...
Purpose of the Toolkit This toolkit is designed for shelters, housing providers, youth-serving agencies and other organizations concerned about homeless and at-risk youth in Canada. It outlines some ideas for transitional housing incorporating the Foyer model but is meant to provide a model that is...

Research Summaries

In North America there are an estimated 2 million street involved youth. Street involved youth have higher rates of infections such as HIV and other STIs. They are also exposed to a greater amount of respiratory illness...
A key challenge in developing solutions to homelessness is that research does not always have a big impact on policy and practice. Typical ways of publishing academic research make it difficult to understand. Research...