The Housing Again Bulletin, sponsored by Raising the Roof as a partner in Housing Again.
A monthly electronic bulletin highlighting what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda across Canada and around the world, sponsored by Raising the Roof as part of the Housing Again partnership.
News for February, 2007
Eva’s Learning Community
A new, unique initiative was launched in November 2006 that plans to develop a “community of practice” to help improve the work done across Canada to help homeless youth achieve and maintain self-sufficiency. Led by Eva’s Initiatives in Toronto, the national “Learning Community” brought 12 leading youth serving organization from across Canada together for a 2-day discussion to collaborate with each other, share promising program approaches and work on other issues of common interest.
Since the inception of Eva’s Initiatives, staff and volunteers have been committed to sharing the lessons learned through trial and error—with no road map—with other organizations struggling to do similar work. Through the National Initiative Program, Eva’s has successfully continued its innovative work by helping to shape how employment and shelter services are delivered to homeless youth across Canada.
“There is a common desire to do some collaborative work,” said Eva’s Initiatives Director of National Initiatives Jennifer Morris. “We should have tangible results within the next year.”
Eva’s brought together members from The Back Door (Calgary), Broadway Youth Resource Centre (Vancouver), Choices for Youth (St. John’s), McMan Youth Family and Community Services Association (Calgary), Meres et Monde (Quebec City), Ndinawe Youth Resource Centre (Winnipeg), Pathways for Children, Youth and Families (York Region), Peel Youth Village (Mississauga), Phoenix Youth Program (Halifax), YMCA of Greater Toronto and Raising the Roof.
After first spending sometime getting to know each other, the members broke into three working groups: staff development, evaluation and youth engagement, Morris said. Following the meeting, an online work space was created to assist the working groups in developing work plans.
The groups have already come up with a number of innovative ideas such as a staff exchange program and defining outcomes in a way that reflects the accomplishments of youth and addresses funders’ requirements. In the fall, the groups will get together again, Morris said.
Eva’s is grateful to the Hamilton Community Foundation, J.W. McConnell Family Foundation, CIBC, Raising the Roof, Deutsche Bank and other generous funders that have allowed Eva’s to undertake this important work.
For more information contact Jennifer Morris, Director of National Initiatives at 416-977-4487, ext. 127.
Peel Youth Village
Opened less than a year, Peel Youth Village in Mississauga, west of Toronto, is an exciting and innovative, mixed-use development incorporating both housing and a community centre. The award-winning housing component meets the needs of homeless youth in Peel Region and the community centre serves both residents and the surrounding neighbourhood. Peel Youth Village is a four-storey residential project designed to house and assist 48 youths aged 16 to 30. It is a comprehensive transitional housing and community development facility. Operated by the YMCA of Greater Toronto, the centre provides recreation opportunities including a basketball half-court, as well as social services such as employment and life-skills counselling. The programs and activities also serve the surrounding Acorn Place neighbourhood and community. The combination of residential, social and employment services, organizers say, offers disadvantaged but motivated young people an opportunity to get their lives on track. . Through the former Supporting Communities Partnership Initiative (SCPI), the Government of Canada provided Phase I funding of $2,474,818 for the project. By the end of March 2006, under SCPI Phase II, it had provided a further contribution of $1,197,559. In addition, the federal and provincial governments contributed $658,000 under the Canada–Ontario Affordable Housing Program. The Region of Peel provided $426,024 through grants in lieu of property taxes and land donations.Designed by Levitt Goodman Architects Ltd., the centre’s unique architectural design was recently honoured by the City of Mississauga with a prestigious urban design award.For more information, contact Director of Democratic Living Tracy Arias at 905-791-5576.
Workable National Strategy to End Poverty
The National Council of Welfare has issued a new report advising Canadian governments that a workable solution to poverty is within their reach and that Canada can have the kind of success that other countries are achieving. The report, Solving Poverty: Four cornerstones of a workable national strategy for Canada, is available online here.
New on Raising the Roof’s Shared Learnings on Homelessness Web site
In 2003, Raising the Roof launched an interactive, bilingual Web site called Shared Learnings on Homelessness. With major funding from partners Direct Energy and RBC Foundation, Shared Learnings provides a directory listing of services and initiatives for homeless and at-risk individuals as well as resources to assist frontline staff, managers and volunteers working to address the problem of homelessness in their communities. Use this site to find out more about what is happening in cities, towns and rural areas across Canada. Link to others working within the homelessness sector, share your experiences and learn from theirs.
Recent additions to the site include:
The Lifeskills Program of the Downtown Eastside Youth Activities Society (DEYAS) of Vancouver, British Columbia offers life skills and employment training to street-involved youth. http://www.sharedlearnings.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=Prof.dspProfile&profilesid=93f3cdb2-5f5a-4404-9004-82f56e87df6c
The Street Outreach London East Project (SOUL) of The London Coffee House Program, in London, Ontario assists people experiencing difficulty obtaining and keeping housing.
How to Develop a Report Card on Homelessness: the First Report Card on Homelessness in Ottawa. This resource outlines the development of the First Report Card on Homelessness in Ottawa as a public awareness document that portrays the homeless situation clearly, actively and effectively.