Homelessness is a complex issue but it is not an unsolvable problem. Until recently, responses to homelessness largely served to manage the problem rather than end it. Dramatic increases beginning in the 1990s as a result of federal withdrawal from affordable housing funding, and widespread changes to provincial welfare policy, meant that our emergency response grew and emergency shelters necessarily focused on giving people a place to sleep for the night. But, while access to temporary shelter is a very important part of the public safety net for people in crisis, we know that it doesn't prevent or end homelessness.
You, as both funder and community partner, have an important role to play in promoting, sustaining, and amplifying the movement to end and prevent homelessness.
We know what works: housing-based solutions combined with the right supports.
Your role is to be catalytic, to not only make effective grants but to help lead our communities towards the necessary systems changes that must accompany what works.
How You Can Create Systems to End and Prevent Homelessness
Promote housing-based solutions with access to supportive services that are integrated into our communities as the primary investment for ending homelessness
Initiate and participate in strategic partnerships among funders, policymakers, and business leaders, as well as advocacy, housing, and service providers
Support effective prevention strategies, such as institutional discharge planning employment training, substance abuse counseling, and family reunification
Raise awareness of homelessness and existing local 10-year plans to end homelessness, while building support for long-term strategies locally and nationally
Support research, pilots, and data collection to identify effective, evidence-based approaches for serving people experiencing homelessness
Promote systems change, breaking down the silos among programs that get us stuck and addressing the underlying causes of homelessness
Leverage national policy and financial support for these efforts, because we need both government and philanthropy to end homelessness
Help remove barriers – eligibility, capacity, or otherwise – that prevent individuals and families from accessing mainstream services once they become housed