Check this out! The Homeless Hub has had a make-over. We have spent the last several years getting ready for this, and this week we finally launch the new site. The Hub now has a cleaner look, and is easier to navigate. But the make-over is more than cosmetic – a key reason we went down this road is to make it much more useful and relevant to our audiences.
You see, when we set up the Homeless Hub, our goal was to ‘make research matter’, by giving students, researchers, policy makers, practitioners and the general public access to a broad range of homelessness research. We wanted to help ensure that research and evidence had a bigger impact on policy, practice and public opinion. We also wanted to reduce barriers to this knowledge, so that most of what we produce and distribute is open access and free! Go ahead – take it.
Since we first launched the site four years ago, our audience has grown exponentially. For instance, last year the number of people who visited our site grew by almost 100%. We have learned a lot since we began. We have worked collaboratively with service providers, government officials and people who have experienced homelessness to develop research content that is relevant to their needs. We have developed approaches to communications and marketing to ensure that the content is accessible and useable. We have also come to realize that there are some areas that we need to do more.
The new Hub helps address some of these issues with new features.
- Solutions Section - Here we have added a large number of resources to allow communities, planners, and governments to effectively address homelessness. You can find everything here, from plans to end homelessness, to systems approaches, prevention strategies, housing solutions (including Housing First), and a whole range of other topics. We even have a Human Resources section that contains job descriptions from the community for every imaginable job position. Each section and sub-section has a short introduction to summarize the information for you, and is followed with links to useful resources
- Community Profiles – This new and improved section contains an interactive map of Canada. For every province and community (the communities are organized according to the Government of Canada’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy community entities) there are basic demographic facts, plus a list of resources, including community planning documents. As we move forward, we hope to populate each community with research relevant to their work.
- Homelessness – Through our evaluation, we found that many people come to the Hub in search of basic information about homelessness. Whether community members, students or the news media, its important that we provide solid information about homelessness, so this section offers a basic “Homelessness 101”
- Blog – Blogging is now becoming a recognized way to engage a broad audience on crucial issues. Our business is mobilizing homelessness research so that it has a bigger impact on solutions to homelessness, so the blogs we produce are built upon a strong foundation of research. We produce these weekly, so explore, and feel free to share.
In addition to these new features, we also worked to improve our existing sections, such as the Library, Education (resources for teachers and students), the Gallery (arts based research and productions). The website was rebuilt from the ground up, and part of this means we have a much better user interface (to use computer nerd speak) and a more robust search engine.
Soooo, check it out, explore the site, and let us know what you think. If you haven’t already, sign up to our weekly newsletter, and receive the latest research news on homelessness.
This post is part of our Friday "Ask the Hub" blog series. Have a homeless-related question you want answered? E-mail us at email@example.com and we will provide a research-based answer.