Keynote Videos

CAEH14 Keynote Speaker - Candice Bergan
Hon. Candice Bergen, MP.
Minister of State (Social Development)
CAEH Keynote Speaker - Becky Kanis
Becky Kanis-Margiotta
100,000 Homes Campaign & Social Solutions
CAEH14 Keynote Speaker - Mayor Gregor Robertson
Gregor Robertson
Mayor of Vancouver
CAEH Keynote Speaker - Chief Wilton Littlechild
Chief Wilton Littlechild
Commissioner, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Living experiences

Living Experiences
Interviews – Part 1
Living Experiences
Interviews – Part 2
Living Experiences
Interviews – Part 3

Presentation Resources

We have collected the 2014 conference presentations and are providing them here in PDF format. If you have any questions, or have difficulty accessing them, please contact us.

Monday, November 3, 2014 (Day 1)


Building a National Coalition to End Youth Homelessness

Partners across Canada are building a strategic coalition to end youth homelessness. Learn about the vision and strategy guiding this coalition and how you can become part of this important work.


 Housing First for Youth

The need to adapt Housing First for the specific needs of young people (aged 13-25) is based on concerns raised by policy-makers, practitioners and indeed, young people themselves, about the applicability of models and approaches developed for adults who are homeless when applied to youth. This session explores this topic from both the research and practice angles.


Systems and Service Integration for Homeless Youth

Integration is key to a systems approach to ending youth homelessness. This session showcases models demonstrating positive impact in terms of systems and service integration for homeless youth. What do these models look like in a Housing First context?


Community Planning to Prevent, Reduce and End Youth Homelessness

This session showcases three community planning processes to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness. Learn what Kingston, ON, Kamloops, BC, and the province of Alberta have learned from their planning processes. The speakers will share how the youth plans fit with the Homelessness Partnering Strategy community planning processes.


Preventing Youth Homelessness

Prevention is one of the most complex and poorly understood aspects of ending homelessness. It can become even more complicated for young people who have entirely different systems to navigate, different pathways into homelessness and unique needs associated with their age and stage of development. What is homelessness prevention for youth? How does Housing First fit in with prevention strategies (and visa-versa)? What works?


Supporting Housing First implementation: Canadian Housing First Toolkit and Training

This session will introduce participants to a web-based Canadian Housing First Toolkit based on the experiences and research of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s At Home/Chez Soi Research Demonstration Project, and validated using an Expert Panel of stakeholders from across Canada. After talking about the origins and development of the toolkit, a brief demonstration of the toolkit will be provided. This will be followed by a discussion about how Canadian communities have begun to use the tool in their local contexts. Then participants will work in small groups to work through each of the modules (Overview, Plan, Implement, Evaluate & Sustain) and have a dialogue about how these could be used in their own communities and identify additional strategies that have been used effectively in their local contexts for each of the stages of Housing First development.


Advocacy for Leaders in Ending Homelessness

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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 participants will learn strategies for building public and political support for ending homelessness.


All Our Sisters: Perspectives on Ending Homelessness for Canadian Women

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 network and conference and the issues and solutions relating to homelessness for Canadian women from experts including women with lived experience.

The second half of the session will feature a discussion on how to connect existing responses to women’s homelessness – VAW and homeless shelter systems, drop-in services and transitional or second stage housing – and Housing First models. How can they fit? What are the gaps? Where do principles and models align? How do they differ?


Homelessness Partnering Strategy Roundtable

In their 2013 budget the Government of Canada announced nearly $600 million over five years starting April 2014 to renew and refocus the Homelessness Partnering Strategy using a Housing First approach. In this session, officials from the Homelessness Partnering Secretariat will provide an update on implementation of Housing First, get feedback from communities about progress to date, and be available to answer questions about Housing First and HPS.


Nothing About Us, Without Us: People with Lived Experience Taking Leadership to End Homelessness

Ending homelessness can’t happen without the active involvement of people facing homelessness. Yet, people with lived experience are too often confined to the limited role of “service recipient” in organizations working on issues of homelessness. This session will explore how to bring lived expertise to the centre of services, research, advocacy and activism on homelessness.

We will:

  • learn how service and advocacy organizations can engage the leadership of people who are poor and homeless;
  • examine the barriers to full participation that confront people with lived experience; and,
  • together, create a statement of principles for inclusion that can be brought to the rest of the conference.


Building a Campaign to House 20,000 of Canada’s Most Vulnerable Homeless People

In July 2014 the U.S. 100,000 Homes Campaign celebrated hitting their objective of housing 100,000 of America’s most vulnerable homeless people in four years. Inspired by their success, the CAEH has begun exploring the feasibility of a national campaign to house 20,000 of Canada’s most vulnerable homeless people. In this workshop participants will hear the CAEH’s early thinking on key elements of a Canadian campaign and be engaged in a ‘no sacred cows’ conversation about building a Made-in-Canada campaign.


TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4, 2014 (Day 2)


Homeless System Planning 101

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. This session will provide a comprehensive overview of what a homelessness system of care is, how it works, and outline critical steps in its development process.

Learnings from implementation of system planning approaches in Canada and internationally will be highlighted – in particular Medicine Hat’s refocused Plan to End Homelessness and Calgary’s System Planning Framework will be highlighted.


Promising Practices in Discharge Planning

This session explores the important role of discharge planning in preventing homelessness for those with mental health issues and concurrent disorders. Developing effective preventative strategies for this population has consistently been identified as among the highest priorities in the homelessness sector. Discharge planning is a framework used by hospitals, prisons and other residential institutions to help link up former residents with inpatient stays to service providers in the wider community. Its overall aim is to reduce or eliminate discharges to “No Fixed Address” and to increase housing tenure. The presenters of this session will discuss promising practices in discharge planning and address ongoing challenges in the implementation of such plans.


 The Right to Housing in Canada

The human right to housing is recognized in several countries, including France, Scotland and South Africa. Canada has signed international treaties that guarantee the right to adequate housing but this right is reflected in neither domestic policy nor law. In this session, presenters will lead an interactive presentation which addresses the following questions: What does the right to housing look like in other countries? What would a right to housing mean to our communities here in Canada? How is this right connected with the rights of women, Aboriginal persons, people with disabilities and other systemically marginalized groups? What role can the intersections between the law, organizing and mobilization play in ending homelessness in Canada?


HomeBase Housing First Intensive Case Management Toolkit

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Intensive Case Management is an emerging best practice for intervention and housing provision to high needs persons living with multiple vulnerabilities. This recently completed toolkit is a comprehensive guide to designing and implementing an Intensive Case Management program utilizing the Housing First model. Based on the Alex HomeBase program, this toolkit provides strategies, accreditation guidelines, timelines, and solution focused assistance for managers and funders who are launching an Intensive Case Management program. The toolkit is also an excellent resource for agencies with existing Intensive Case Management Teams who are experiencing program drift or readying for accreditation. Attendees will be provided with the opportunity to order their own copy of the toolkit at no cost.


What does motivational interviewing have to do with Housing First?

Housing First offers people an opportunity to move from the isolation of survival living on the streets to having a life of belonging in the community. Likewise, Motivational Interviewing (MI) provides practitioners with the skills to help people strengthen their hope and motivation to make changes they choose and to thrive. MI is an evidence-based practice that embodies the spirit of partnership, acceptance, compassion, and evocation. Participants in this workshop will gain an understanding of how MI complements HF strategies, learn about the spirit, processes, and core skills of MI, and experience a taste of how MI works. This interactive workshop will include information, learning activities, and discussion.


Aboriginal youth homelessness

It is well-documented that there is an overrepresentation of Aboriginal peoples among the homeless in Canada. Some of the most vulnerable homeless are Aboriginal youth who are at special risk for gang recruitment, prostitution, and exploitation. This session looks at successful, holistic service models, as well as the implications of Housing First for Aboriginal youth homelessness.


Incorporating people with lived experience in service provision

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This workshop will focus on the importance of incorporating people with lived experiences (PWLE) in the delivery of your services. People with lived experience of homelessness, mental illness, addiction and recovery have a tremendously important role to play in all levels of service delivery. PWLE should be part of any service team and also have a place in the boardroom. Their unique expertise and perspective allows them to inspire and communicate about recovery in ways that others cannot. This workshop will provide examples of how different organizations in Canada and the United States have hired and incorporated PWLE in all facets of their work and will also address common agency misperceptions regarding the role of PWLE staff that all too often limit their contributions on a service team.


Frameworks and strategies for homelessness prevention

In order to end homelessness we need to begin to focus upstream on preventing homelessness. This session look at different methods of stopping homelessness before it starts.


Homeless seniors: Addressing unique needs of an aging population

As homeless people age we need to be able to provide solutions that work for this population. Just as a response to youth homelessness can’t be “adult homelessness Jr.” neither can a response to homelessness amongst the elderly be “adult homelessness Sr.”. These sessions explore housing, palliative care, place-making and aging in place.


Coordinated access and assessment systems

For communities that have demonstrated progress in ending homelessness, the development of a coordinated access and common assessment approach has been an essential component of their success. These tools pave the way for a more efficient homeless service system by leveraging the strengths of individual service providers, improving consumer access to the right housing and support options to meet their needs, reducing new entries into homelessness and improving data on needs, strengths, opportunities and appropriate approaches to end homelessness.

This session will draw on international experience to examine the steps required to successfully implement coordinated access and common assessment in your community. It will include a review of access models and discuss live Canadian coordinated access and assessment systems from Calgary and Medicine Hat.


 Mobilizing rural and remote communities to end homelessness

Homelessness in rural and remote areas is considered less visible than urban homelessness, yet rural and remote communities face many of the same challenges, including building community collaboration, providing services to individuals with complex needs, and working in a context of low vacancy rates. This session will highlight the results from three studies of homelessness in rural and remote communities in Canada and discuss how to build community capacity to address homelessness in rural and remote areas.


Lessons from the 100,000 Homes Campaign

From July 2010 through July 2014, a New York City based non-governmental organization named Community Solutions ran a national effort in the US called the 100,000 Homes Campaign. The aim of the Campaign was to work with communities across the country to deploy a Housing First approach to ending chronic homelessness for 100,000 long term medically vulnerable homeless people.

Over 230 communities ultimately joined the 100,000 Homes Campaign and it met its goal a month in advance of the deadline. This session will cover the methodology that led to the formation of the 100,000 Homes Campaign, the importance of data and performance management, successful performance improvement strategies, decision-making on what to track and support, key partnerships needed at both the local and national level, and how outreach, training and messaging ultimately led to achieving the campaign’s ambitious goal.


Strategies for finding and keeping private rental housing for Housing First clients

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Finding and keeping private rental housing is a critical component of most Housing First programs and a frequent concern for communities new to the model. This session will present effective strategies to engage and maintain relationships with property management from the perspectives of the service provider and the landlord. Brief presentations will set the stage for a larger facilitated discussion among workshop participants. Providers with varying levels of experience with Housing First will be able to share their questions as well as their expertise making this happen in communities all over Canada. The facilitated discussion will allow for peer support on the challenges of implementing housing first in a scattered site approach.


Housing First – Now what? Building social inclusion for Housing First clients

Housing First can end homelessness and sustain housing for large numbers of long-term homeless people, however several questions still exist about what then happens once re-housing has occurred. In this session, participants will learn about the key lessons from three innovative service models focused on promoting social integration for homeless people currently operating in Europe; the STAR (Supporting Transitions and Recovery) Learning Centre at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto; and low-barrier, flexible and individualized employment and training programs to support the employability and continuous development of people with lived experience of homelessness at Fred Victor in Toronto.


Managed alcohol programs: A national perspective

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Among those who are homeless or unstably housed, use of non-beverage alcohol and excessive use of licit alcohol has considerable impacts on the health and wellbeing of individuals, families and communities. Managed alcohol programs (MAP’s) have evolved in multiple sites in Canada to address the twin harms of homelessness or housing instability and severe alcohol use disorder. These programs provide regulated doses of beverage alcohol and accommodation in order to promote safer use of alcohol, reduce harms associated with severe alcohol dependency, and promote housing stability. In this session, a panel composed of service providers, researchers and policy makers will provide an overview of current MAP programs, policies, practices and research.


Mental health and youth homelessness

In communities across the country, the failure to address the specific needs of homeless youth with complex mental health needs and the lack of appropriate, timely services is resulting in a crisis for homeless young people, their families and the community agencies and structures that seek to support them. This session explores the research about and possible solutions to this crisis, including service models operating within a Housing First for Youth Framework.


Providing culturally safe and anti-oppressive Housing First programs

In communities across the country, the failure to address the specific needs of homeless youth with complex mental health needs and the lack of appropriate, timely services is resulting in a crisis for homeless young people, their families and the community agencies and structures that seek to support them. This session explores the research about and possible solutions to this crisis, including service models operating within a Housing First for Youth Framework.


Advancing knowledge mobilization and research impact strategies in the homelessness sector

This set of presentations shows us how we conduct research is as important as what we are actually studying. The researchers examined youth, women, Aboriginal and Northern issues but these sessions focus on their methods and techniques, the processes and learnings of the research team and how to best interact ethically with your study participants.


Measuring progress towards ending homelessness

As we work to develop firm plans and targets on ending homelessness it’s ever more critical that we have methods that allow us to accurately track success (and in some case, lack of). These sessions present different methodologies for determining factors and success in ending homelessness including Point in Time Counts, Plans to End Homelessness, Shelter Use Data and a Rental Housing Index.


Program performance management in a Housing First context

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In its renewal of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy (HPS), the Government of Canada prioritized Housing First as a key strategy to reduce homelessness. 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 present findings from a HPS-funded project analyzing community learnings on the following interrelated topics: designing the homeless-serving system, performance management, quality assurance and funding allocation. Participants will also see how performance measurement for Housing First programs has been applied in practice by Homeward Trust in Edmonton.


Preventing discharge into homelessness from public systems using Housing First

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Preventing discharge into homelessness from public systems is one of the essential elements of plans to end homelessness, but one that has not – until now – been done systemically or effectively in many communities. This session will focus on the partnership process, design, and implementation of the Post Release/Discharge Housing First team and the Housing First system for youth in Lethbridge, Alberta. Participants will learn about the creation and adjustment of processes, protocols, and policies to assist these programs to either mitigate or eliminate the time
homeless after release or discharge. Presenters will describe the process of referral, intake, structure, and implementation of the Housing First methodology within these programs as well as the current outputs and outcomes for both programs.


Collaborative fundraising for affordable housing

Raising private sector and philanthropic funding for affordable housing is a perennial challenge in ending homelessness. This session will feature presentations from the Vancouver Streetohome Foundation who have raised over $28 million to support 1,000 units of housing and Calgary’s Resolve Campaign, an innovative multiagency collaborative campaign that aims to raise $120 million to build affordable and supportive housing for over 3,000.


From surviving to thriving: supporting chronically homeless adults in permanent housing

This session highlights challenges and solutions for housing chronically homeless clients with significant mental illness and/or medical challenges in a Housing First Model. This session will share learnings from the Pathways to Housing program in Calgary. Attendees will learn and discuss how to assess client care needs, how to collaborate with health care services, how to proceed if a client is no longer able to live independently, how to cope with the added strain of caring for clients with increased care needs, how to support a client who resists care related to aging, and how to prevent staff burn-out when multiple dimensions of advanced and coordinated care is required  (medically/psychiatrically, home maintenance, laundry, meal delivery service, personal hygiene, and medication support).


Social enterprise in support of ending homelessness

Social enterprises are profit making ventures run by a not for profit or charitable organization. The profits generated are returned to the non-profit entity to be used to support the mission and mandate of the organization. This session will look at three Vancouver social enterprises relating to homelessness.


Adapting Housing First 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 can be accommodated in Housing First programs.


Harm reduction for youth

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There is a need for increased harm reduction services for homeless youth. This session takes a look at some of the successful models and explores what these supports and services look like in a Housing First context.


Housing First in the rural context: Can it work here?

The answer is Yes! This workshop will provide information on how some rural communities in Canada and the United States have successfully implemented Housing First to meet their unique needs. Using lessons learned from these areas, presenters will answer questions such as: How do we find housing? What does a “team” look like when it is covering over 150 KM end to end? How do we maintain contact with program participants? Who supports the staff?


Understanding and facilitating the implementation of effective models of housing and support

A key message in Housing First is that supports are an integral part of success. Whether supports are provided separate from housing or whether they are integrated into housing, it’s critical that we understand what supports are needed for who and why they work.


Identifying effective responses to youth homelessness

1 in 5 shelter users is a young person and a high number of those living rough or in the hidden homelessness population are also youth. Responding to youth homelessness requires tailored and unique interventions to meet the needs of developing adolescents.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014 (Day 3)


Ending homelessness and strategies for emergency shelters

In this session participants will learn about Housing First and Housing First strategies that are applicable to emergency shelters and strategies for bringing agency board and staff up to speed and engaged in a Housing First mission. Participants will also hear how the second largest provider of shelter in Toronto, the Salvation Army, has developed a new vision for its Toronto shelters focusing on moving ‘from a series of services grounded in emergency responses to homelessness, to one that is an integrated housing stability service system with clear goals and performance


Integrating mainstream services in Housing First

Connection to mainstream services is critical to the success of Housing First, especially for Intensive Case Management programs. This session will provide information on facilitating connections to mainstream services for Housing First teams, challenges and workarounds with regard to systemic barriers, and the importance of local and provincial pathways for escalating ground-level challenges for system change.


A Canadian toolkit for developing a local Homeless Management Information System

Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) are critical tools that benefit homeless clients, service providers and policy makers. This session will cover the strategic planning needs and hurdles for implementing and maintaining an HMIS. Attendees will understand the steps and sequence for developing an HMIS which includes: a community assessment, governance structure, privacy considerations, data collection needs, system usage, performance measurement and reporting consideration. The audience will be familiarized with the tool and how to utilize it in their community. Attendees will have free access to HMIS Toolkit online.


Homelessness prevention and housing stability

This session explores emergency shelter diversion, collaborative service provision to prevent homelessness for people with complex needs, and a community development approach to housing support services.


Housing First for women and women and children fleeing violence

This session introduces participants to two pioneering Housing First programs for women and their children fleeing violence and explores the needs of children in Housing First.


Housing First for youth: Panel discussion

The need to adapt Housing First to meet the unique needs of young people (aged 13-25) is based on concerns raised by policy-makers, practitioners and indeed, young people themselves, about the applicability of models and approaches developed for adults who are homeless when applied to youth. This panel discussion is an opportunity to get your questions answered. Come hear what the experts are saying.


Housing strategies for Housing First programs

This workshop will focus on the best practices for locating units in a variety of contexts while also preserving client choice. The workshop will cover topics such as securing housing that matches participants’ needs and preferences, marketing the program, building relationships with landlords, addressing issues of discrimination, and deciding who is responsible for what (e.g., property management, move-out). This workshop will also assist program staff with the operational aspects of running programs that include housing services.


Exploring effective “systems” responses to homelessness – systems planning and coordination

This panel uses a case-study approach to explore integrated service delivery as a response to homelessness at the local community and provincial levels. It includes a look at both the philosophical and practical issues of developing a systems approach to ending homelessness.


Research Smorgasbord

This is a sampling of some of the hottest topics in research including providing services to trans* people, homeless activism, rural homelessness and homelessness amongst veterans.


Supportive housing in a Housing First context

In this interactive session a panel of supportive housing practitioners and researchers will provide a brief overview of evidence, experience and learnings on supportive housing from their various vantage points.

The balance of the workshop will be spent in guided peer level discussion and debate in small-group format.Key questions for consideration by participants will include: What synergies exist between 30 years of practice and current policy directions? What elements of evidence-based practice and research (e.g. At Home/Chez Soi) are present in existing supportive housing approaches? What are the implications of ‘straying’ from a scattered site Housing First approach? How do supportive housing best practices contribute to the goal of ending homelessness using Housing First approaches?


Provincial strategies for reducing homelessness in BC, Alberta and Quebec

While much is made of the need for a national housing strategy, we can’t forget the essential role that provinces play in preventing, reducing and ending homelessness. In fact, from a jurisdictional and funding perspective, provincial governments are the most important level of government. In this session we will hear about provincial housing and homelessness strategies in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec.


Municipal tools and partnerships for ending homelessness

Homelessness lives in cities, towns and villages which puts pressure on municipal governments to act. Unfortunately municipal governments don’t have the jurisdiction or resources to end homelessness on their own. There is, however, a lot they can do. This session focuses on ‘working with what you’ve got’ from a municipal perspective.


The evolution of homelessness 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 explores the shift to housing focused outreach in Vancouver and London.


Housing First: Key lessons from Europe

This presentation explores the use of Housing First in the European context, looking at the use being made of the original Pathways Housing First model, the European modifications to the Housing First approach and the interplay between ongoing innovations in European responses to homelessness and the models of Housing First being used in Canada and the USA.


Considerations for adapting Housing First to your community and priority populations

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Housing First at its core is an individual and local housing intervention. It necessarily has to adapt to local conditions and individual needs, without losing fidelity with the core elements that make it work. In this session participants will get advice and guidelines on adapting Housing First programs to their local context and population needs.


Supports for LGBTQ homeless youth

We know what the limited research is telling us; LGBTQ youth are in need of improved services and programs that address and support their needs. Youth serving organizations need additional resources and training to better work with youth who identify as LGBTQ. This session looks at the research and some of the solutions materializing across Canada. The session addresses how these supports fit with the Housing First philosophy.


Home visits: the art and the science

This session will address a core component of any housing program: The Home Visit. We will talk about what the expected frequency should be, how this is determined, and how to do these visits in an efficient but therapeutic manner that fosters growth and recovery. We will also focus on common concerns such as: When utilizing a harm reduction approach, how do you help program participants maintain their unit? What do you do when there are too many guests in the unit? What is the best course of action when you notice illegal activity? These are just a few of the concepts and questions this workshop will address.


Exploring the involvement of homeless persons in the criminal justice systems

A key feature of the Canadian response to homelessness – yet one that does not get sufficiently discussed – is the use of the policing and justice system to address homelessness. These sessions explore a wide range of topics under this category including: incarceration and health, connections between mental illness and criminal justice involvement, ticketing street-involved people and self-reporting.


Addressing Aboriginal homelessness in Canada

Given the profound impact homelessness and inadequate housing have on Aboriginal communities it’s important to place emphasis on understanding the ways in which homelessness effects First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples. These presenters look at issues facing Aboriginal Peoples in a variety of contexts.