Exploring Effective Systems Responses to Homelessness

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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 (e.g. managers and directors) and funders to conceptualize, plan for and implement coordinated efforts to end homelessness in Canada. We see efforts to coordinate services, policies and governance strategies as the critical next step in a pan-Canadian effort to end homelessness.

Homelessness is a systemic problem involving numerous sectors, institutions and agencies and, therefore, requires more integrated system responses in terms of governance, policy and programs. The widespread homelessness experienced in our communities indeed reveals deep structural inequities in our economy and society that ought to be addressed, but also represents a systematic governance failure characterized by a lack of ownership of this issue in and across government. The growing scholarly and practitioner movement towards systems integration thus refers to strategies and frameworks to improve collaboration and coordination between people, organizations and sectors that touch upon homelessness, including some that may not conceive of themselves as directly related to the issue.

Systems integration may appear to be a daunting task given the complexity of the broader homelessness system and the multitude of governments, overlapping authorities and competing interests. Yet we have assembled three dozen case studies written by practitioners on the ground and researchers in the field to demonstrate that systemic change is possible at various levels of activity within the realm of homelessness and associated sectors. We do not need to wait for the perfect conditions to emerge to resolve governance and service inefficiencies – our day-to-day work is always where sustained change is derived and upon which further efforts and refinements are built.


The "Exploring Effective Systems Responses To Homelessness" is now available as a paperback book via the York University bookstore.

Cost: $30 + s/h. See shipping charges here.

Purchase through: York University Bookstore

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Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
Naomi Nichols
Carey Doberstein
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