Website will provide homelessness workers best practices from across Canada


TORONTO, July 5, 2019 – A new Homelessness Learning Hub will give frontline community workers who serve people experiencing homelessness a central website that brings together best practices in the sector and offers training through online self-directed courses.

The Honourable Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament for Humber River– Black Creek, on behalf of the Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, today announced $581,379 in federal funding over three years for development of the website by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, based at York University. The grant is being made through the Community Capacity and Innovation funding stream of Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy.MP Judy Sgro with representatives of York University and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

The COH has worked in partnership with the federal government’s Homelessness Policy Directorate, doing surveys, interviews and stakeholder focus groups to better understand the professional development needs of the sector. They learned frontline service providers and community organizations needed practical tools and resources to train staff and provide professional development.

The Homelessness Learning Hub will offer online courses in a number of fields identified in the federal homelessness strategy, Reaching Home, as national priorities for the homelessness sector: prevention, data management, Housing First, case management, systems planning, and coordinated access. Those who are working in the homeless-serving sector are being asked to contribute their best resources to the website during the soft-launch.

The Homelessness Learning Hub will include practical, multimedia resources that are accessible to all, free of charge: factsheets, guides, toolkits, infographics webinars and more. Examples of the resources include: 

  • Housing First 101 – resources including practical guides for working with various populations in an effort to reduce chronic homelessness using the Housing First framework.
  • Priority Population: Youth – resources on working with and building programming for youth experiencing homelessness.
  • Systems Planning Collective Learning Modules – four modules that form a comprehensive curriculum, with resources to mobilize systems planning knowledge, hone related skills and take steps to change and improve local outcomes.


“When one person is forced to live on the streets, we’re all diminished. Homelessness is a reality for too many Canadians and a challenge for every Canadian community. Through Reaching Home, we’re working with other levels of government, NGOs, Indigenous partners and communities across Canada to provide more stable housing to people experiencing homelessness and increasing support for vulnerable groups. Supporting projects like these is only the beginning and one of many initiatives that will make a real impact on the lives of vulnerable Canadians. By working together, we can reduce chronic homelessness in our communities by 50% by 2027–2028.”
The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

“I’m proud that through Reaching Home and the new Community Capacity and Innovation funding stream, we’re able to work with organizations like Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to develop innovative solutions that will support the homeless-serving sector. Supporting our service providers, frontline staff and communities with the right tools and resources ensures that we are equipping communities across Canada with the capacity to prevent and reduce homelessness.”
The Honourable Judy Sgro, Member of Parliament for Humber River—Black Creek

 “York University is proud to support the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, one of the largest research institutes of its kind in the world, dedicated to understanding the needs of homeless people in Canada. The Homelessness Learning Hub brings together academics, policy makers, service providers and government to create safer and more sustainable housing options. The website also maximizes the impact of the work in communities across the country extending the network of those seeking to solve homelessness and sharing approaches based on evidence. We commend the federal government for their ongoing support of initiatives that mobilize knowledge around this important issue.” – Rhonda L. Lenton, President and Vice-Chancellor, York University

 Bridging the gap between research, policy and practice is our ultimate goal here. Quality professional development resources will bring evidence-based research to the practical service level in order for us, as a sector, to move forward on national priorities in preventing and ending homelessness. – Stephen Gaetz, CEO and President, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and Professor, Faculty of Education, York University

York University champions new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-disciplinary programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 25 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 300,000 alumni.

York U's fully bilingual Glendon Campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

 The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH) is a non-partisan research and policy partnership between academics, policy and decision makers, service providers and people with lived experience of homelessness. Housed at York University, the COH evolved out of a 2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council funded project called the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. Led by Dr. Stephen Gaetz, CEO & President, the COH collaborates with partners to conduct and mobilize research that contributes to better, more effective solutions to homelessness. For more, @homelesshub

Media Contact:
Janice Walls, York University Media Relations, 416 455 4710,