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This study builds upon the findings of several recent participatory projects in which women facing homelessness have taken the lead and voiced their knowledge about the causes and consequences of, and the solutions to homelessness. Through those projects, women experiencing homelessness shared their insights about services, and about their own strengths.
Now, the time has come to assist services to adopt the good practices identified in those projects. In order to do this, service providers need models and tools that are relevant to their own service contexts. To gather more information about models, tools, and practices and how these can be implemented, our project drew upon a range of sources:
• A web search, literature review, and site visits, to identify innovative democratic practices in local, Canadian, and international services for women and families facing homelessness.
• Interviews and focus groups with managers and front-line staff in organizations serving women and families facing homelessness, in order to analyze practices and policies in local services that respond to the above recommendations, and the challenges that services face in fully implementing them.
• Peer knowledge exchange meetings and focus groups with women and families facing homelessness, in which participants shared and documented the good practices they use, and their recommendations for making services more inclusive.
This report presents inspiring models, inclusive service practices, and women’s own strategies and resources for surviving homelessness. While we keep up the struggle to end homelessness, we can also draw upon the information here to make changes in our everyday lives, our work, and our organizations.
This feminist, participatory research project was funded by the Homelessness Knowledge Development Program of Human Resources Services and Development Canada.