NCEH 2013

Keynote Videos

Hon. Candice Bergen, MP.
Minister of State (Social Development)
Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver
Frank O’Dea
Founder of Second Cup Coffee
Louise Casey
Ex-UK Homelessness Czar

Canada’s Invisible People

ytthumb_invisible01Canada’s Invisible People
Video #1
ytthumb_invisible02Canada’s Invisible People
Video #2
ytthumb_invisible03Canada’s Invisible People
Video #3

Presentation Resources

We have collected the 2013 conference presentations and are providing them here in PDF format. If you have any questions, or have difficulty accessing them, please contact us.

Monday, October 28, 2013 (Day 1)

Concurrent Workshop A1

Government relations & advocacy for leaders in ending homelessness

A critical success factor in ending homelessness is successfully lobbying municipal, provincial and federal governments for funding support and policy change. In this half-day workshop Global Public Affairs will share insight and strategies for building public and political support for ending homelessness.

Concurrent Workshop B1

Fundamentals of 10 Year Plans to End Homelessness

Plans to end homelessness are community-based plans that shift a community’s focus from managing homelessness to ending it. These plans have been proven in Canada to lead dramatic reductions in homelessness. In this workshop Canadian and American experts will provide a detailed explanation of the fundamental elements of plans to end homelessness and share key strategies for their development and implementation.

Concurrent Workshop C1

Fundamentals of Housing First

Housing First is the revolutionary response for effectively ending homelessness, now at the heart of all plans to end homelessness and the policy driving force of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy. In this interactive workshop, Dr. Sam Tsemberis will present the fundamentals of Housing First including lesson learned from the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013 (Day 2)

Leadership and Planning I-a

Developing a 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness

Plans to end homelessness are community-based plans that shift a community’s focus from managing homelessness to ending it. Speakers will outline the fundamental elements of plans to end homelessness and share key strategies for their development and implementation.

Leadership and Planning I-b

Collective Impact: How to create large scale social change

Collective Impact is an emerging methodology for achieving large scale social change that offers important lessons for ending homelessness. In this session, noted Canadian author and Collective Impact expert Liz Weaver from the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement will introduce and explain the key elements of Collective Impact and their applicability to ending homelessness.

Practice I-a

Rapid re-housing for individuals and families

Rapid re-housing is a cost-effective solution to homelessness that involves providing assistance locating new housing, short-term rental assistance, and follow-up case management services. Presenters will outline the basic housing and service components involved in the rapid re-housing model and provide examples of the results local communities have achieved in reducing homelessness using this approach.

Practice I-b

Fundamentals of Housing First

Housing First is a highly effective program for ending homelessness and the primary policy mandate of the renewed Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Presenters will provide examples of how Housing First was implemented across the 5 cities of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home / Chez Soi project and discuss issues of implementation and operations when introducing Housing First into new environments.

Practice I-c

Best practices in housing focused outreach

In making the shift from managing homelessness to ending it the role of outreach programs shifts from providing survival supports to also becoming the critical front door to permanent housing. This session will cover the basics of housing focused outreach and provide examples of innovative Canadian outreach programs.

Research and Policy I-a

Housing intervention & support

How relationships and networks affect the transition from homelessness to housing, and how these relationships help people maintain ongoing housing, are keys to these research papers. By examining transitional housing and support programs, as well as exploring an individual’s social networks, the importance of connection is shown.

Research and Policy I-b

Urban Aboriginal homelessness

Within urban areas across Canada, Aboriginals are disproportionately represented amongst homeless populations. This session examines the unique challenges faced by Aboriginal people in cities across the country, including the funding of services in Vancouver and Toronto, the transitory needs of Aboriginals in Winnipeg, the increase in migration of the Inuit population to Montreal and the ways in which cities need to examine Aboriginal/Homeless policy and planning in Prairie cities.

Research and Policy I-c

Staffing issues

A key component of improving service delivery is to focus on staff, however, this area is often under-funded and overlooked. The ways in which staff values impact service delivery is also sometimes ignored. These speakers look at key issues of staff training and awareness, impact of staff values, and the ways in which better service can be provided to clients through a focus on staffing.

Leadership and Planning II-a

Developing a coordinated homelessness system of care

A system of care coordinates resources (programs, agencies, funding) to ensure community-level results align with 10 Year Plan goals and meet client needs effectively. Rather than relying on an organization by organization approach, system planning uses a framework to provide consistent services in purposeful and strategic way. In this session presenters will outline what a homelessness system of care is, how it works and outline critical steps in the development process.

Leadership and Planning II-b

‘If I had to do it all over again’ lessons on planning to end homelessness

Through the experience of others we can accelerate efforts to end homelessness by avoiding mistakes and replicating successes. Join leaders from three Canadian cities for a panel discussion reflecting on their experience developing and implementing plans to end homelessness and Housing First programs.

Leadership and Planning II-c

All Our Sisters: Women’s Homelessness in Canada

All Our Sisters is a national multi-disciplinary network and conference addressing the social, economic and practical issues affecting homeless women and women at risk in Canada. Learn more about this exciting new network and conference and the issues and solutions relating to homelessness for Canadian women from experts including women with lived experience.

Practice II-a

Dimensions of quality in permanent supportive housing

Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) is long-term, community-based affordable housing with support services for homeless persons with serious disabilities. PSH is an important part of the housing mix in every community. The Corporation for Supportive Housing (CSH) has developed ‘Dimensions of Quality in Supportive Housing’ that articulates what makes quality supportive housing, driving better outcomes for tenants, especially those with multiple barriers to housing stability. Join CSH for an introduction to this valuable quality assessment tool.

Practice II-b

Developing and implementing Intensive Case Management Housing First programs

Intensive Case Management (ICM) is one of the most common, effective and readily adaptable forms of Housing First intervention for chronic and episodically homeless individuals. In this session delegates will learn about the development and implementation of ICM programs and be introduced to a new Canadian Housing First ICM toolkit.

Research and Policy II-a

Research partnerships and strategies

The Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) is dedicated to helping end homelessness by improving the impact of homelessness research on policy and practice. This panel of presentations will highlight CHRN’s work over the past several years including the in-depth network building and knowledge mobilization strategies. It will also highlight its new project and the exciting directions for homelessness research in Canada.

Research and Policy II-b

Inclusion, diversity and voice

This session highlights research that ensures that the voices of people with lived experience of homelessness is represented in the work being done to create solutions. It also explores the diverse needs of unique populations within the broader homelessness sector.

Research and Policy II-c


Criminalization of the homeless is an ongoing issue. As police forces and governments pass policies that restrict freedom of movement and govern interactions (ie Safe Streets Act) this becomes an increasing issue for agencies. Discriminatory practices concerning racialized communities, Aboriginals and people living with mental illness is also an ever-present challenge. This panel will discuss issues of policing, law and legislation from a variety of perspectives.

Leadership and Planning III-a

Using data and data systems to coordinate service and inform planning & practice

When shifting from managing to ending homelessness, the role of data and data systems also shifts from funder reporting to service prioritization, system coordination, program performance monitoring, system planning as well as funder reporting. In this session presenters will shake up traditional thinking on data and outline how a Homeless Management Information System can coordinate homeless serving systems and contribute to ending homelessness.

Leadership and Planning III-b

Changes to the Homelessness Partnering Strategy

The Homelessness Partnering Secretariat will host a session on implementing the renewed and refocused Homelessness Partnering Strategy. This will include an update on the implementation approach, tools/resources to support the move to Housing First and expectations for demonstrating results.

Leadership and Planning III-c

Retooling your shelter & transitional housing programs

Ending homelessness means shifting focus away from shelter and transitional housing toward permanent housing and support, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a critical role for organizations that provide those services. Learn more about how shelter and transitional housing programs can be transformed with a focus on preventing and ending homelessness.

Practice III-a

Engaging people with lived experience

This session explores the practice of peer involvement drawing from the experience of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi project and Waterloo Region’s STEP Home program. The goal of this session is to provide grounded examples of the impact people with lived experience (PWLE) make in homelessness policy, planning and programming, and offer salient practices to audience members who are interested in supporting PWLE involvement in their own settings.

Practice III-b

Municipal leadership in ending homelessness

Homelessness has devastating consequences not only for the individual, but also for neighbourhoods and communities. While local governments typically have limited resources to address the underlying causes of homelessness, they are the front line for the issue. The session explores how Vancouver, and other municipalities in the region are taking a leadership role in ending homelessness. The discussion will be guided by questions such as: What is municipal leadership and why is it important for municipal staff and communities responding to homelessness? What role can municipal leadership play in ending homelessness? When does leadership make the most difference? Presentations will be followed by a robust discussion of lessons learned and how they can apply to your municipality.

Research and Policy III-a

Colloquium – Homeless in the North: Responding to the Housing and Homeless Needs of Unique Populations

In this coast to coast to coast, colloquium the authors tackle issues of gender, rural life, aboriginal people, program delivery and geography, in presenting a multi-faceted look at issues related to homelessness from a northern perspective. Understanding the housing and support needs and preferences of homeless women in Canada’s northern, remote communities is critical to developing effective housing and support models; models which will increase the likelihood of women achieving housing stability and improving their health on multiple dimensions.

Research and Policy III-b

Family homelessness

Family homelessness is a more hidden and often misunderstood component of homelessness in Canada. These research papers examine the issue from a variety of perspectives include prevention, intervention and exclusion.

Research and Policy III-c

Electronic poster session

In this electronic version of an academic poster session several presenters will have a few minutes each to share their stories, data, research and ideas via PowerPoint. These quick round-ups are a research version of speed dating or a grown-up version of Show and Tell. Join us for a fun and informative session that captures the highlights of Canadian homelessness research.


Wednesday, October 30, 2013 (Day 3)

Leadership and Planning IV-a

Fundamentals of Harm Reduction

One of the more controversial and challenging aspects of Housing First is harm reduction and the principal that housing is not conditional on sobriety or program participation. A harm reduction approach to addiction focuses on keeping people safe and minimizing death, disease and injury associated with higher risk behaviour, while recognizing that the behaviour may continue despite the risks. How to safely house people in the community on a harm reduction basis becomes one of the most challenging aspects of Housing First programs. In this session, presenters will discuss the fundamentals of the harm reduction approach in the housing context, and share some Canadian examples of harm reduction housing.

Leadership and Planning IV-b

Access, Assess, Assign & Accountability: building a community coordinated intake and assessment system

Coordinated intake and assessment can help communities make more efficient use of scarce housing resources by: streamlining access to housing and supports for those that need it, reducing new entries to the system through diversion and prevention, prioritizing those with the most acute needs and ensuring people are matched with the right housing and supports. Presenters will discuss how to build a community coordinated intake and assessment system and share examples of those systems in action.

Practice IV-a

Mobilizing Local Capacity and other promising practices in ending youth homelessness

The National Initiatives Program of Eva’s Initiatives supports organizations across Canada developing new programs and models of service for homeless youth and supports capacity building for the youth services sector across Canada with the ultimate goal of self-sufficiency for homeless youth. Join Eva’s to hear from award winning programs and community approaches focused on ending youth homelessness.

Practice IV-b

Key considerations in ending homelessness for Aboriginal peoples

Aboriginal people are over represented in Canada’s homelessness population, even more so among the chronic and episodically homeless. Most Aboriginal people have taken a unique pathway into homelessness (impacted by Residential Schools, generational poverty, trauma and racism) and have unique needs that must be considered in ending their homelessness. This session discusses the unique needs of Aboriginal people and how those needs have been accommodating in successful housing programs in Edmonton and Winnipeg.

Practice IV-c

Housing First for survivors of domestic violence

Housing First for survivors of domestic violence is a recent adaptation of the Housing First model in Canada. In adapting the model special attention needed to be paid to trauma among survivors, ongoing safety concerns as well as the needs of the children involved in addition to mental health and addiction issues. In this session, hear from Canadian pioneers in Housing First for survivors of domestic violence on adapting the Housing First model.

Research and Policy IV-a

Electronic poster session

In this electronic version of an academic poster session several presenters will have a few minutes each to share their stories, data, research and ideas via PowerPoint. The focus of these quick round-ups will be Housing First research initiatives. Think of it is as a research version of speed dating or a grown-up version of Show and Tell.

Research and Policy IV-b

Colloquium – The “Other” Half: What the Homelessness Sector can Learn from Feminist Approaches

Feminist participatory approaches have a lot to teach the broader homelessness sector. From trauma-informed models, to inclusion of people with lived experience, feminist insights have already improved services, research, and advocacy on homelessness – and not only for women. This colloquium offers an opportunity to learn about feminist, participatory innovations in services, research and advocacy, and to consider the importance of a gender lens in the development of new policies and programs.

Research and Policy IV-c

Breaking the mould

The call for abstracts for this conference elicited a huge response from the research community. There were several papers that were excellent, but didn’t fit the planned presentation structure. In this session presenters share homelessness research on a number of diverse topics.

Leadership and Planning V-a

Considerations for effective local implementation and oversight of Housing First programs

Over the next five years dozens of communities across Canada will begin implementing Housing First programs under the renewed and refocused Homelessness Partnering Strategy. Experience in Canada and the U.S. has shown the important role funders and Community Entities have in ensuring the success of these programs. This session will draw from that experience to outline some key considerations for funders and Community Entities in  developing or funding Housing First programs, measuring program progress, supporting agencies to ensure peak performance of Housing First programs as well as managing the risks associated with Housing First and harm reduction.

Leadership and Planning V-b

Managing community transition from crisis response to ending homelessness

Shifting from managing to ending homelessness creates significant change for everyone involved in homeless services. How to manage this change is one of the first challenges new 10 Year Plan communities face. Learn how other communities have approached this transition, what mistakes they’ve made and the keys to their success.

Practice V-a

Housing and support for homeless families

There is very little information available on family homelessness in Canada, but we do know it’s a problem in every major Canadian city. This session will explore research, plans and programs from across Canada focused on preventing and ending family homelessness.

Practice V-b

Risk Management for Housing First and harm reduction programs

A harm reduction approach to addiction focuses on keeping people safe and minimizing death, disease and injury associated with higher risk behaviour, while recognizing that the behaviour may continue despite the risks. How to safely house people in the community on a harm reduction basis becomes one of the most challenging aspects of Housing First and Permanent Supportive Housing programs. Presenters will discuss risk management strategies, policies and practices to support safe and successful harm reduction.

Practice V-c

Housing First in five Canadian cities: Lessons on developing & implementing Housing First from At Home/Chez Soi

The Mental Health Commission of Canada At Home/Chez Soi project was the world’s largest research demonstration project on the effectiveness of Housing First. Conducted in five Canadian cities (Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal and Moncton) At Home Chez Soi gleaned important learnings on development and implementation of Housing First programs in different forms, with unique local contexts and for different populations. In this session, presenters from the MHCC will share their learnings and offer delegates advice on implementing local Housing First programs.

Research and Policy V-a

Health, mental health and addictions

With homeless people dying at a much greater rate than housed populations, suffering from illnesses often correlated with people much older than them, and experiencing a significant rate of mental illness and trauma, these topics are important research areas to move forward in the quest to end homelessness. These papers cover a wide range of health and mental health related issues to provide an overview of key issues in this sector.

Research and Policy V-b

Counting methodologies

Street counts are considered by some to be a controversial method of counting homeless populations, but at the same time, there is an understanding that to truly understand the problem we need to be able to measure it. This panel will showcase the National Shelter Study, the new National Report Card on Homelessness and highlight one example of counting in a Canadian city.

Research and Policy V-c

Youth homelessness

The unique needs of youth who are experiencing homelessness are explored in this panel. Questions to be explored include: What leads youth into homelessness? What type of research is being done to understand their needs? How are youth’s voices being heard within service provision design and delivery? How do we prevent homeless youth becoming homeless adults?