A health-informed end to homelessness. That’s the vision of the new Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of the Homeless (CNH3) that formally launches today with a new website. CNH3 is hosting a post-conference summit and a dedicated conference stream on health care and homelessness at CAEH19.
The Canadian Network for the Health and Housing of the Homeless (CNH3) is formally launching with the express aim of teaming up the health and housing sectors to collaboratively bring about a health-informed end to homelessness.
CNH3 aims to be a collaborative problem-solving platform that will provide the opportunity for organizations across Canada who are working at the interface of health, shelter and housing sectors to provide each other with mutual support and creative community practice.
Essentially, it’s leveraging the platform of healthcare professionals to help boost the voice of people experiencing homelessness and the homeless sector. Housing is a critical element of the social determinants of health, after all.
“When you look at the life expectancy, morbidity or illness conditions of people who are homeless, the life expectancy for someone who is homeless, on average, is less than 50 years,” says Dr. Andrew Bond, CNH3’s Steering Committee Chair. “There is no stronger social determinant of health out there other than war in high-income countries .”
“It is critical to bring the healthcare voice to the process of ending homelessness.”
Andrew is the Medical Director at Inner City Health Associates, Canada’s largest homeless healthcare organization, with a team of 100 physicians from numerous disciplines providing care at more than 50 clinical sites for people experiencing homelessness and precarious housing across Toronto. He is a Staff Physician in the Department of Family Medicine and a faculty member of the Health Justice Program at St. Michael’s Hospital and a Lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Department of Family and Community Medicine.
The mission for CNH3 is really based on collaboration, according to Andrew.
“One of the big differences between Canada and the United States, is that the US has direct federal funding for homeless healthcare right across the country and we don’t have anything similar,” he says. “Most of the organizations in Canada have had to squeeze what they can out of limited resources to get where they are.”
Hence the launch of the network. It’s meant to create a venue for people to raise the problems and challenges they’re facing, and work on coming up with solutions together. But the network will also be about healthcare professionals listening and taking direction from the housing and homeless sector, and people with lived experience.
“There are important questions about what is the appropriate position of physicians and healthcare providers in understanding and responding to housing concerns,” Andrew says. “There is still work to do to make sure we are collaborative system players who know our place and are responsive to the direction of our colleagues who are experts.”
CNH3’s mission is to:
- promote collaboration amongst the healthcare, shelter and housing sectors to drive innovative responses to the health and housing needs of the homeless.
- provide a national forum for the sharing of experiences and models of care and support amongst health and housing providers and organizations.
- support and develop strategic national policy and education initiatives to address the health and housing needs of people experiencing homelessness in Canada.
- collaborate with local and national partners to advocate to end homelessness in Canada.
“Recognizing that we are privileged and powerful and that we’re lucky enough to have that position in society and by virtue of our profession,” Andrew says, “we need to make sure we bring that to bear to the benefit of the most disadvantaged and marginalized people, which is almost universally people experiencing homelessness.
“We really want to bring that voice to share with our colleagues and our clients to help move the needle on ending homelessness because we know it’s achievable.”
The inaugural summit will take place on Wednesday, November 6 from 3 to 5 p.m. after #CAEH19 concludes in Edmonton. CNH3 also has a concurrent session stream at the conference on healthcare and homelessness.
The 2019 National Conference on Ending Homelessness is only a few days away. Although the sold-out conference has a record 1,500 participants heading to Edmonton, we have made strides to ensure that anyone interested in ending homelessness still has access to the conversations and solutions. If you’re not joining us, here are some ways you can still be involved:
2. Every year, we upload everyone’s presentations to our Conference website’s Archives page right after the conference is over,
Be sure to catch our closing plenary on Nov. 6 around 12:30 pm MT, as we will announce the location and dates for CAEH20!