Welcome to part 2 of 2 on ‘Raising the Roof’s Learning Adventures.’ In this blog post, you will be able to learn more about the project team’s learning adventures at the annual Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness conference.

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness Conference

The annual Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness Conference is run by the national organization, the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness. Every year, the conference is held in a different Canadian city. This year, the event took place in Hamilton, Ontario over 3 days.

Raising the Roof reacts:

Raising the Roof’s entire project department had the wonderful opportunity to participate in all 3 days of the conference. You can read about the team’s favourite CAEH 2018 moments and highlights ahead!

Pamela’s thoughts:

“I really enjoyed Jason Shawana’s session: A Place of Many Hearts: Indigenous Approaches to Ending Homelessness for Indigenous Youth.

Jason spoke of providing youth with access to traditional language and knowledge keepers. He dove into the importance of knowing yourself and knowing how your program is supposed to be helping indigenous youth. He also shared that ensuring indigenous youth have an understanding of themselves is the most important way to support them.

Jason encouraged us to reflect on whose concept of home we should be including in our work, leading us to understand that though physical shelter is important, helping young people achieve their own concept of home will be better for them in the long run.”

Elisa’s thoughts:

“This year’s CAEH, as always was a wealth of knowledge, community, culture and healing. The CAEH team have did a beautiful job or creating space for Indigenous leadership and ceremony throughout all elements of the conference. This year Dr. Alex Abramovich provided a morning plenary which encouraged all of us to think critically about how we support the safety of trans individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

My highlight ‘reaction’ to this year’s conference was the Family Homelessness session. Children and families are the fastest growing population in the Canadian shelter system. It was very encouraging to hear the work of three communities (Hamilton, Halton and Calgary) to curb this trend and re-design their systems to create permanent exits from homelessness for this specific population.

In particular the presentation of Angela Clarke from Aspen Family & Community Network Society and Lisa Garrisen of Children’s Cottage Society in Calgary stood out. This team presented Calgary’s pan-community collaboration to prevent family homelessness. The community has created a more effective system of care designed with families in mind. In addition, they have created a toolkit for ‘unusual suspects’ such as physicians, school staff and Children’s Aid Society on their role in preventing homelessness.

Lisa and Angela drew upon the learnings of Raising the Roof’s Child and Family Homelessness Initiative,breathing new life into the project. I found this presentation extremely motivating to find new ways on how Raising the Roof can continue to mobilize our learnings on preventing child and family homelessness across Canada.”

Swedha’s thoughts:

“I had the opportunity to attend the last day of the CAEH conference. The workshop I attended was interesting and it was especially great to hear about the natural supports homelessness prevention program run by the Boys and Girls Club Calgary.

What I found to be incredible was the keynote speech by Waneek Horn-Miller. Her speech was powerful, as well as an inspiration to those who were able to hear her story of being stabbed in the Oka crisis, to her mothers’ adventures of being a trailblazing activist, to being one of the very few Indigenous Olympic champions representing Canada. I would highly recommend that folks listen to her speech if they are looking to find inspiration on resilience, hope, and motivation.”

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