In the past 2 decades, homelessness has emerged as a seemingly intractable problem in Canada. In order to strengthen the connection between research, policy and practice, this project will establish the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), a non-partisan research and policy partnership that leverages the collaborative research and knowledge mobilization capacities of participating individuals and organizations. This partnership was developed on the assumption that there are realistic and practical solutions to homelessness and that communities across Canada can implement effective plans to achieve that end when informed by credible research and evidence. The COH will produce original research that not only contributes to the scholarship on homelessness, but will enhance the impact of research on solutions to this issue by establishing an evidence base and knowledge mobilization strategy that supports policy (including legislative change) and practice developments. The program of research evaluates current policy directions and programmatic approaches to preventing and reducing homelessness, addresses key policy questions, and supports the development and implementation of effective and sustainable solutions to homelessness in communities across Canada. The partnership model will generate research impacts that are timely, useful and reflective of the interests and needs of project partners and other stakeholders by developing a range of outputs targeted to specific audiences, including strategically planned policy reports, policy briefs and parliamentary committee submissions, as well as tool kits to help communities implement effective program responses. The COH research agenda focuses on the following priority areas:
- Exploring effective 'systems' responses to homelessness;
- Understanding and facilitating the implementation of effective models of housing and support;
- Addressing Aboriginal homelessness in Canada;
- Advancing knowledge mobilization and research impact strategies in the homelessness sector.