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The Housing Again Bulletin, sponsored by Raising the Roof as a partner in Housing Again.

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A monthly electronic bulletin highlighting what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda across Canada and around the world, sponsored by Raising the Roof as part of the Housing Again partnership.

News for April, 2005

Ottawa Releases First Report Card


Early in March, Alliance to End Homelessness released Experiencing Homelessness: The First Report Card on Homelessness in Ottawa, 2005. Report cards are a relatively new way of measuring and documenting progress, or lack of progress, in the fight to end homelessness. The City of Toronto released its first report card back in 1999. The National Housing and Homelessness Network issued its report card in 2003 focusing on issues on a national scale. And there have been other examples across the country.

When produced more than once, report cards allow communities to monitor and evaluate progress over time. They can heighten community awareness, refute myths, provide feedback to service providers, identify under-serviced areas, promote funding and identify emerging trends. Report cards are often the first step in the development of a community action plan and will be used to support applications for funding.

“We wanted to put together a baseline of information – to document what is happening now,” said Alliance co-chair Trudy Sutton. “Now we are able to monitor improvements and changing trends by comparing data over the next two years.”

The more comprehensive the report card, said Sutton, who works with the agency Housing Help, the more validity it will be given by consumers, funders, service providers and decision-makers. But, they can be time-consuming (often more than 12 months), require large numbers of volunteers, staff and researchers, and they can be costly. Taking a hard look at the increasing numbers of homeless and diminishing government initiatives can be discouraging. But, the more the community is involved in the development of the report card, the more relevant it will be, which will make successful dissemination and surviving public scrutiny more likely.

The next phase of the Ottawa report card project, which was funded with a $25,000 grant from United Way Centraide, includes conducting follow-up interviews with study participants two years after the initial interviews to determine the pathways that help people combat homelessness.

Since this is the Ottawa’s first report card, which was produced to “inform and engage the public,” it also presents a profile of homelessness in the City of Ottawa and introduces the many organizations that work to reduce the impact of homelessness.

For more information, contact Lynne Brown, co-ordinator at 613-241-7913 ext. 205.

Click here to download the report

Community Economic Development Strategies Fight Homelessness

Community economic development (CED), as a strategy to reduce the barriers to adequate housing and eliminate homelessness, is embraced around the developing world and is becoming more popular in Canada’s non-profit communities in recent times. CED initiatives and another alternative – social enterprise projects within for-profit businesses – are springing up all over the country and many are starting to get more attention from government funders.

The Centre for Community Enterprise, a national organization providing resources and expertise in community economic development, defines CED, as “the process by which people build organizations and partnerships that interconnect profitable business with other interests and values - like quality jobs, marketable skills, good health, affordable housing, equal opportunity, and ecological responsibility.” Businesses become an “integral part of a far greater agenda - a local movement to build (or rebuild) a community that is creative, inclusive, and sustainable in the near and distant future.”

Community workers have been advocating for funding programs that support the creation of business enterprises to train and hire homeless and hard-to-house people at living wages through seed or development grants, revolving loan funds, operating grants and purchasing contracts.
Successful initiatives, whether for-profit or not-for-profit, are linked to community addiction and counselling services, supportive housing, emergency shelters and other organizations that work with the homeless. These agencies provide referrals (both clients and consumers), ongoing counselling and support, treatment for mental health/addiction issues that contribute to homelessness, assist with employment skills training, and often parent the development of spin-off initiatives. Programs often include job training, childcare and community development strategies as part of economic development.

This spring, MBA students at the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management will launch Rotman Nexus, a non-profit consulting agency serving the needs of clients in the social services sector exclusively. The agency will offer management consulting services to non-profit and social enterprise clients at affordable rates, identifying innovative ways to measure social return and value.

United Way of Greater Toronto supports the Toronto Enterprise Fund, which provides funding to establish non-profit agencies providing employment, or training leading to employment, for homeless people or those at risk of homelessness. It has funded 12 social enterprises in the city.
Parkdale Green Thumbs Initiative is one of the recipients and provides planting and maintenance services for local homeowners and business. The Toronto Enterprise Fund website offers a long list of resources in CED.

Here are a few other examples of community economic development initiatives in Canada:

Eva’s Phoenix is an innovative transitional housing and training facility in downtown Toronto. Eva’s operates the Printshop, which is a career-focused social enterprise that combines qualified instruction with the production of professional work for paying customers. Under the leadership of a business manager and an instructor, young people learn the basic principles and practices of the graphic communications industry.

Inner City Renovations Inc. (ICR) is a for-profit social enterprise owned by four non-profit organizations in Winnipeg. It is a construction company committed to the revitalization of inner city neighbourhoods and creating quality employment for low-income people. ICR began in 2002 and within a year, had grown to 20 crew members, 4 crew supervisors, and 3 office staff. Over half of ICR employees are Aboriginal and two thirds come from low-income, inner city Winnipeg. Sales revenue from start up to end of April 2003 is over $600,000 for work completed on over 20 different commercial and residential projects.

Victoria Street Newz, a project of the Bread and Roses Collective - a registered not-for-profit society with the province of British Columbia, is an alternative news source. Its mission is to provide a voice, and income opportunities, for economically marginalized and/or socially disadvantaged people. At the same time, it offers employable skills training, increased self-esteem, confidence, and pride in accomplishments.

In Sault Ste Marie between May 4 and May 7, Building an Inclusive Movement, the 2005 National Conference on Community Economic Development and the Social Economy is being held. Early bird registration deadline is April 1.

For more information on the conference click here

Hands Off My Baby Bonus Campaign

Across Canada, every province and territory except Manitoba and New Brunswick fully or partially claw back the National Child Benefit Supplement (formerly called the “baby bonus”) from families on social assistance. Join groups like the Income Security Advocacy Centre, Ontario Campaign 2000, Campaign Against Child Poverty, Interfaith Social Assistance Reform Coalition and the Ontario Coalition for Social Justice and get involved in the Hands off my baby bonus! – a campaign to end the NCBS claw back.

See website

National Conference Update
Registration is now open!


Canadian Conference on Homelessness
May 17-20th, 2005
York University, Toronto

The Canadian Conference on Homelessness is a national, cross-sectoral and interdisciplinary forum for sharing and collaboration in order to explore the links between research and action, and to move towards effective long-term solutions in homelessness issues. The conference is meant to be inclusive, integrating the experiences and perspectives of all stakeholders and sectors, including researchers, policy makers, service providers, and individuals who are homeless or at-risk of being homeless. Those attending the conference will be provided with an exciting opportunity to explore how research can better contribute to policies and programs that address issues of homelessness.

For registration information


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