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About Shared Learnings

Developed by Raising the Roof, this site makes practical tools and information accessible to the frontline staff, managers and volunteers within the hundreds of organizations across Canada working to address the problem of homelessness in their communities.

The website attracts a wide range of users, including direct service providers, advocacy groups, housing providers, social service planners and policy staff, faith groups, donors, academics, students, and members of the general public. Our aim is to (1) promote and share information across Canada about effective techniques, programs and policies to prevent and reduce homelessness and (2) facilitate networking between agencies, activists, and decision-makers.


In February 2002, Raising the Roof embarked on the Shared Learnings on Homelessness Project, funded the National Homelessness Secretariat (Human Resources Development Canada). To help determine the scope and content of the Shared Learnings project, English and French language surveys were used in outreach to approximately 100 individuals from non-governmental agencies working on homelessness issues or with homeless clientele. Survey respondents included direct service providers and organizations involved in policy and program development. The results shaped the focus of this website and pointed to the need for specific resources that would support the work of staff and volunteers in organizations serving the homeless or working towards reducing and ending homelessness in other ways.

Future Directions

As the site continues to grow, Raising the Roof's goal is to further develop resources which represent the diversity of the homelessness sector (different populations served, variety of needs, diverse approaches to direct service, advocacy, policy formulation, capacity building, and partnership development), as well as the diversity of communities across Canada (large and small, urban and rural, all regions of Canada, and French and English speaking communities).

Steering Committee

A six member steering committee comprised of Raising the Roof Board members from across regions of Canada provided overall vision and strategic direction.


Four types of tools are offered through this bilingual, one-stop Web hub:

  • Profiles of Community Initiatives These shared learnings about effective programs, practices, and approaches to addressing and preventing homelessness, are featured to inform and inspire service providers, advocates and policy makers as they develop and implement responses to homelessness in their own communities. The initiatives profiled are not intended to be a comprehensive inventory of all approaches to homelessness prevention work or direct client service work. Instead they are examples of initiatives underway in communities across Canada, including large, medium and small urban areas, and rural communities. The initiatives represent a range of strategies that front line practitioners have found to be effective when working with diverse homeless and at-risk populations.
  • Directory of Organizations Contacts in the homelessness and social housing sectors in communities across Canada are provided to enable service providers, advocates and others concerned about homelessness to connect and share with one another.
  • Resources Practical "how-to" resources are offered on hot topics and emerging issues. Informed by front-line practitioners, each resource contains ideas for implementing effective strategies and pointers to additional sources of information. These strategies can be adapted to suit a variety of circumstances.
  • NEWS Section A monthly electronic bulletin, sponsored by Raising the Roof as part of the Housing Again partnership puts the spotlight on what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda across Canada and around the world.

The Quick Search function allows users to locate information throughout the site using a keyword search or searching by client group, special need, location or key activity.

Our Partners: The Shared Learnings site was made possible through collaboration with the following partners:
Government of Canada's National Homelessness Initiative. Project development and start-up funding. [LOGO: Canada]Direct Energy. On-going funding to support the site. [LOGO: Direct Energy]Web site created by: ecentricarts Inc. [LOGO]

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© 2003 Raising the Roof / Chez Toit