Although Canada is one of the richest countries in the world, child and family homelessness is a serious and growing issue. More than 37% of Canadian households are having difficulty maintaining housing and more and more families are relying on emergency shelters. Between 2005 and 2009, the estimated number of children using those shelters grew by 50%.
Despite its severity, there is no national, coordinated response to address this issue. We believe that by educating Canadians, learning from and sharing innovative community-based work and developing a practical planning framework, we can develop solutions to child and family homelessness in Canada.
1) Learn about current programs and services – across Canada and internationally – that are already working to address family homelessness
2) Create a comprehensive framework that looks at solutions to family homelessness at three levels: primary prevention, systems-based responses, and individual/familial factors
3) Develop practical tools and resources that can be used by community organizations and government to encourage promising practices and generate recommendations.
Simply put, we want to enlist and support communities and governments in order to provide solutions for addressing and preventing child and family homelessness in Canada.
We’ve teamed up with the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) on the Ontario Collaborative Partnership. This collaborative brings together three Ontario-based partner organizations to examine current ‘systems of care’. The project will identify systems currently in place, assess their strengths and weaknesses, and identify barriers and disconnect that may exist for families trying to navigate through these complex systems.
Thanks to the generous support of the RBC Foundation, we’ve included the Children’s Mental Health Pillar as part of the greater initiative. Addressing the mental health challenges of homeless children is critical because few populations of children are more likely to be at risk for serious emotional and behavioural issues. We believe that children’s mental health represents one of the greatest opportunities for successful intervention, and that by providing effective supports at an early stage, we can decrease some of the most debilitating, potentially long-term effects of homelessness on children.
Raising the Roof has partnered with eight community agencies across the country to collect data and work collectively in making recommendations for addressing child and family homelessness.
This work would not have been possible without the generous support of our Corporate Partners:
Children’s Mental Health Pillar
Ontario Collaborative Agreement
On February 16, 2016 we hosted a webinar titled “Child & Family Homelessness in Canada” to discuss the final report findings and recommendations along with some of our community partners. Watch it here:
A complete listing of the reports released to-date as part of this national initiative. More information can also be found here.