Designing a Framework to Prevent and End Homelessness in Ontario

The Project

Homelessness continues to rise in communities across Ontario and Canada. While research to date has explored various affordable and supportive housing models, approaches geared towards particular populations, such as Indigenous people, women, and youth, have included large-scale evaluations of Housing First, a comprehensive policy framework that has been lacking both provincially and nationally. In particular, all orders of government, driven by 4-year election cycles, tend to pursue promising models simply by shifting resources from one area within the sector to another. What Ontario lacks is a long-term comprehensive policy vision of how to truly prevent and end homelessness based on best international research evidence and local knowledge. The Ontario Alliance to End Homelessness (OAEH), as an affiliated network of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH), has taken up the challenge of creating such a policy framework.

Our partnership will address the following question: What policy framework in housing and homelessness will truly end homelessness in Ontario and sustain this ending of homelessness, and how should this be translated into local programs? The goal of the partnership will be to create such a framework through a multi-phase process that includes people with lived/living experiences of homelessness, academics, service providers, advocates, and policy-makers on the research team, reaching out to these same 5 stakeholder groups as research participants. We will implement 3 distinct, qualitative methods: 1) A series of literature reviews; 2) Key informant interviews/surveys; and 3) A broad series of focus groups. With an integrated knowledge mobilization approach, we will be able to continuously build and refine the policy framework with inclusion of all relevant stakeholder groups.

The funder

The project entitled “Designing a Framework to Prevent and End Homelessness in Ontario” received funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research (SSHRC) Partnership Development Grant.

The Structure

This project involves a large team of 32 researchers, service providers, people with lived/living experiences of homelessness, advocates, and policy makers/implementers. To facilitate this work, a leadership table is overseeing project operations under the leadership of Dr. Abe Oudshoorn and a Research Coordinator, Sibel Kusdemir. This table meets every two weeks.

Our full project team

Abe Oudshoorn – Carrie Anne Marshall – Alexandra Nelson – Michelle Bilek – Bahar Shadpour – Kaite Burkholder Harris – Chuck Thiessen – Carol Kauppi – Erin Dej – Kaitlin Schwan – Kristy Buccieri – Steve Gaetz – Stephanie Baker Collins – Tyler Frederick – Sean A. Kidd – Rebecca Schiff – Ravi Gokani – Jim Dunn – Jackie Kennelly – Terrilee Kelford – Sarah Collins – Tim Smuck – Keith Lau – Jayne Malenfant – Carrie Bartsch – M.Nickolas Watchorn – Indro Bhattacharyya – Jordan Pelkmans – Doug Ball – Leigh Bursey – Colleen Parsons – Catherine McKenney – Parvinder Hira-Friesen