Notes 20030730 Background on Homelessness

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Notes 20030730 Background on Homelessness

Background Information re Homelessness

NCWC’s Common Program this year is Homelessness and Housing for the Homeless. At the AGM, it was decided that Councils may choose whatever they wish to do in this area. As Councils work on the Common Program, they might wish to examine the programs currently in effect in their areas, gather information on initiatives that have been successful, examine how programs are being delivered and if they are reaching the target group. To that end, I have put together some background material including sources for further information.

NCWC Policy:

To begin, if you wish to check NCWC’s Housing Policies, they are on our website

as follows:

1982 (82.13)

1988 (88.1)

1992 (92.1, 92.20 PU)

1999 (99.4)

2002 (02.2 PU)

Federal Government Initiatives

Check out website:

The following is quoted from that site:

“ In 1999 the Government of Canada announced the National Homelessness Initiative, a three-year initiative designed to help ensure community access to programs, services and support for alleviating homelessness in communities located in all provinces and territories.

“The Government of Canada has renewed the National Homelessness Initiative for an additional three years with an investment of $405 million.”

The following is from website: partners:

“The Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) amounts to $305 million over three years and is helping 61 communities across Canada address homelessness at the local level.

“Each of these 61 communities has developed a Community Plan on Homelessness that identifies current community resources and gaps in service and establishes priorities supported by all stakeholders. The Plan also includes strategies for sustaining longer-term projects, communicating with all concerned community groups, and evaluating success.

“Eighty per cent of SCPI funding to targeted to 10 major Canadian cities with serious homelessness problems. These communities are Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax. The remaining twenty per cent is allocated to 51 smaller communities with demonstrated homelessness problems.”

NOTE: This website also provides more on the SCPI (pronounced “skippy” communities across Canada and their projects.

The following quote is from: report.

“The Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI) is a key component of the Government of Canada’s National Homelessness Initiative that focuses on community efforts to address homelessness. It has been implemented in communities across the country and relies on private and public partnerships at the local level. As the SCPI enters its third year, 61 communities have come together to examine the problem of homelessness and have developed comprehensive plans to mobilize their efforts to assist the most vulnerable citizens in their neighbourhoods.

“In recognition that these communities have now all completed their planning process, the Honourable Claudette Bradshaw, Minister of Labour and Federal Coordinator on Homelessness sought their input for this report. Ten communities were asked for an open and frank review of both the challenges and successes they experienced during the planning phase of the Initiative. They were asked to share their views and experiences. (A summary of their comments are included in the following pages of this report.)

“The ten communities who have participated in this report were chosen because their progress under the SCPI was far enough along to be able to provide examples of best practices as well as other information that could inform others about lessons learned along the way. The communities are Greater Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer, Sudbury, Hamilton, Ottawa, Halifax and St. John’s.”

References for Further Reading/Research:

Argoni, 2001. Affordable Housing and Smart Growth. 2001. Washington, DC: Smart Growth Network and National Neighborhood Coalition.

Beavis, Mary Ann et al. (1997, January). Literature Review: Aboriginal Peoples and Homelessness. Ottawa: CMHC

Begin, P. et al. (1999). Homelessness. Canada: Parliamentary Research Branch.

Canada Housing and Renewal Association (2002). On Her Own: Young Women  and Homelessness in Canada. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada.

Canada Housing and Renewal Association (2001). The Role of Housing in the  Social Inclusion/Exclusion of Children. Ottawa: Canada Housing and Renewal Association.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (2001b) Guide to Affordable Housing Partnerships. Ottawa. CMHC.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. (1996). Immigrants and the Canadian Housing Market: Living Arrangements, Housing Characteristics, and Preferences. Ottawa: CMHC.

Cooper, Merrill (2001). Housing Affordability: A Children’s Issue. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks.

Culhane, D.P. and Hornburg, S.P. 1997. Understanding Homelessness: New Policy and Research Perspectives. Washington, DC: Fannie Mae Foundation.

Davies, Libby (2001). Housing and Homelessness: Still an Un-Natural Disaster!  A Report by NDP Housing Spokesperson Libby Davies on the National Crisis in Housing and Homelessness.

Davies, Lorraine; McMullin, Julie Ann; Avison, William R.; and Cassidy, Gale L. (2001) Social Policy, Gender Inequality and Poverty. Ottawa, Status of Women Canada.

DeKeseredy, W.S., Alvi, S., Schwartz, M.D., and Perry, B. (1999). “Violence Against and the Harassment of Women in Canadian Public Housing: An Exploratory Study.” Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology  36: 499­516.

Department of Family Services (Manitoba) (1994).  A Review of Second Stage  Housing. Manitoba: Child and Family Services Division, Family Dispute Services Branch.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities (2000). A National Affordable Housing Strategy.

Federation of Canadian Municipalities. (2001a) The FCM Quality of Life  Reporting System: 2nd Report – Quality of Life in Canadian Municipalities.

Foyer des Cent Abris. Innovative Rooming Houses. A.C.T. Demonstration Project. Prepared for: FCM, CHBA, CHRA, CMHC.

Gardiner, Helen et al. (2002). 2002 Calgary Homelessness Study: Final Report October 2002. Calgary: Calgary Homeless Foundation.

Golden, Anne (1999) “Taking Responsibility for Homelessness: An Action Plan for Toronto.” City of Toronto: Report of the Mayor’s Homelessness Action Task Force.

Hagen, Jan L. (1987) “Gender and Homelessness,” Social Work 32: 312-316. Hartley, Robyn (1991) “Helping Homeless Families,” Family Matters. Dec.11.

Homegrown Solutions (2001) Affordable Housing Ideas at Work in Canadian  Communities.  Ottawa: CMHC.

Hulchanski, D. 2002. Housing Policy for Tomorrow’s Cities. CPRN Discussion Paper F/27 Family Network. Ottawa: Canadian Policy Research Networks.

Hurtiz, Mel (1999) Pay the Rent or Feed the Kids: The Tragedy and Disgrace of Poverty in Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart.

Huttman, Elizabeth and Redmond, Sonjia (1992) “Women and Homelessness: Evidence of Need to Look Beyond Shelters to Long Term Social Service Assistance and Permanent Housing.” Journal of Sociology and Social Welfare 19(4) Dec: 89-111.

Jahiel, Rene I. (1992). “Homeless-Making Processes and the Homeless-Makers.” In R.I. Jahiel (ed). Homelessness: A Prevention-oriented Approach. Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press.

Johnson, Laura C. and Ruddock, Allison (2000) Building Capacity: Enhancing  Women’s Economic Participation Through Housing. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada.

Kerstetter, Steve (2002) Rags and Riches: Wealth Inequality in Canada. Ottawa: Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Kraus, Deborah and Eberle, Margaret (1998) New Ways to Create Affordable Housing. Ottawa: CMHC.

Layton, Jack (2000) Homelessness: The Making and Unmaking of a Crisis. Toronto: Penguin Books.

National Low Income Housing Coalition. 2001. Does Design Make a Difference? The NIMBY Report. Fall 2001. Energy Pathways. Inc. 1995.

Rude, Darlene and Thompson, Kathleen (2001) Left in the Cold: Women, Health and the Demise of Social Housing Policies. Winnipeg, MB: Prairie Women’s Health Centre of Excellence.

Shapcott, Michael (2002) Housing for All Canadians: An Additional $2 Billion for a Comprehensive National Housing Strategy – Draft. A Submission to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance Pre-Budget Discussions for 2002.

Toronto: National Housing and Homelessness Network, Toronto Disaster Relief Committee.

Skelton, Ian (1998) The Shelter Shortage: New Directions for Low-Cost Housing Policy in Canada. Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Van Wart, L. 2000. Testing the Limits: An Examination of Family Housing  Affordability in Nova Scotia. Masters Thesis, Dalhousie University – Daltech Department of Urban and Family Planning, Halifax, NS.

Wardhaugh, Julia (1999) “The Unaccommodated Woman: Home, Homelessness and Identity.” Sociological Review 47(1): 91-110.

Whitehead, Christine M.E. (2002) “Response: Housing, Tenure and Opportunity.” Housing Studies 17(1): 63-68.

Wiegers, Wanda (2002) The Framing of Poverty as “Child Poverty” and Its Implications for Women. Ottawa: Status of Women Canada.

Wight, J.D., Rubin, B.A., and Devine, J.A. 1998. Beside the Golden Door.  Policy, Politics and the Homeless. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.

Wilcox, Paula (2000) “Lone Motherhood: The Impact on Living Standards of Leaving a Violent Relationship.” Social Policy and Administration 34(2): 176-191.

Williams, Jean Calderone (1998) “Domestic Violence and Poverty: The Narratives of Homeless Women.” Frontiers  19(2): 143-165.


Affordable New Home Development Foundation – the result of an initiative to address the affordable housing issue in Saskatoon. It is a registered, non-profit organization created to provide education and support to families and individuals that want to buy their first home, but for various reasons, cannot access the traditional marketplace. An element in the operation of this Foundation is the Building for Home Ownership program which is designed for families and individuals that are ready to make a commitment to work toward home ownership.

Sasknative Rentals Inc. – the first Metis administered, subsidized housing program in Saskatoon.

Crisis Nursery – a residence that provides a second home for children during a family crisis or emergency. If there is no alternate care available, parents may leave their children while the problem is being resolved. The Crisis Nursery in Saskatoon is sponsored by a non-governmental agency, the Saskatoon Society for the Protection of Children, Inc. and is managed by volunteer board members and interested citizens.

Saskatoon Housing Coalition Inc. – exists to meet the needs of those with mental illness through supportive housing.

Raising the Roof

Canada’s only national charity dedicated to long-term solutions to homelessness.

Calgary Homeless Foundation

Founded by local businessman Art Smith and supported by Premier Ralph Klein, Mayor Al Duerr, as well as the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and United Way of Calgary & Areas Foundation Sponsors.

Housing Again

Websites of sponsoring organizations for this website are also of interest. From this site you can find Finding Room: Housing Solutions for the Future Report of the National Liberal Caucus Task Force on Housing by Paul Martin, MP, and Joe Fontana, MP.

Greater Vancouver Regional District “Homelessness” –

Provides info on regional homelessness plan, research data and maps, and some links to relevant local and governmental agencies.

City of Calgary

University of British Columbia Homelessness Virtual Library

The Native Council of Nova Scotia

Has a brief description of a housing project by the Rural and Native Housing Group that helps to improve the housing standards of low/fixed income homeowners. Over the past twenty years, Rural and Native Housing Group has administered a range of well known social housing programs, e.g., Residential Assistance Program (RRAP) and the Emergency Repair Program (ERP).

In Summary

Marilyn Boechler, VP, has sent me much information on work that has been done in Saskatchewan, and I thank her for the following information, as well as some sources previously mentioned. The Saskatoon Council of Women made housing an issue to be studied and promoted in various programs from 1996 to 1998. They invited guest speakers from City Council and the Saskatoon Housing Authority and also organized five public information sessions in an area of the city where good quality social housing was desperately needed. Marilyn also noted these important facts that emerged from their work:

  1. Crisis shelters/housing is essential.
  2. Second-stage housing is the vital next step. Here people can be helped to gradually take charge of their lives and begin to make good decisions.
  3. Good quality affordable housing is also needed not just for families, but for anyone living on a low or modest income – singles, mentally or physically challenged, immigrants, seniors, etc.
  4. Housing co-ops seem to work well for families.

Homelessness is a very broad topic, encompasses so much, and affects so many people. There seems to be a plethora of information available, and many strides have been made toward finding solutions, but we haven’t found all the answers yet. We still have poverty, and hence we still have people who do not have a place of their own that they can call home. I hope the information contained herein is of some assistance as the NCWC Councils find their own approach to homelessness.


Councils are asked to report on what have done or will be doing re our Common Program no later than March 31st, 2004. We want to be able to share findings, results, and ideas. These should be sent to Karen Dempsey, VP, in care of our National Office.

Karen Dempsey, VP (Economics) July 30, 2003

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