Defining an End to Homelessness in Canada (Making Zero Count (Functional Zero))


Funding Program:

Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) Homelessness Partnering Strategy

Funding Amount:


Project Website:

This multi-phase project involves a team of researchers partnering with communities to develop a consistent definition of ending homelessness in Canada. The project includes developing a community of practice involving seven communities and one province who will provide feedback on the definition based on their local and regional expertise. Local workshops will be conducted in each of the communities wherein discussion will focus on how to define an end to homelessness nationally; how to implement a definition locally; and to develop data collection tools to measure progress. A provincial workshop will also be held where, in addition, discussions will include: implementing a definition provincially; and building consensus among communities. The project also includes the facilitation of a national roundtable with Indigenous scholars, advocates and individuals with lived experience of homelessness to ensure the definition and indicators encapsulate the reality of Indigenous homelessness in Canada. Based on learning from the community of practice, local and provincial workshops and the Indigenous Roundtable, in consultation with communities, the project team will develop agreed upon performance indicators and create innovative data collection tools to measure against those indicators. The project will include the development of a suite of free resources, data collection tools, and system performance evaluations – to be used in concert with existing data collection methods such as point-in-time counts, HIFIS and by-name lists – for communities to access. With these resources, communities can better measure their progress towards ending homelessness. The tools and resources that are being developed will be implemented within communities to ensure that they are useful and practicable on the ground. With an improved ability to define and measure an end to homelessness, we can more strategically and efficiently move towards our collective goal.