The creation and ongoing operation of ‘Coordinated Access’ and associated systems planning has been widely adopted in Canada. There are general principles that are used by all communities but the final structure of a community’s organization, which is tasked with preventing and reducing homelessness locally, comes in many forms.  Below are just a few examples of the diverse forms of these types of organizations. These examples provide a good starting place for both front line staff and mangers to begin to understand how and why coordinated access will operate best in their community.

Calgary Homeless Foundation
Calgary Homeless Foundation guides the fight against homelessness in Calgary. Learn about their purpose and ambition, meet their board, and more.

End Homelessness St John’s
End Homelessness St. John’s provides various resources, including community plans and strategic planning, reports on homelessness, and program models.

Homelessness Interventions in Medium-Sized Cities

In July of 2023, the BC Minister for Housing, Ravi Kahlon, pointed out that the province has 17 communities with populations of 80,000-plus, and that all 17 will be asked “to play a bigger role” in accommodating British Columbia’s population growth. It can be assumed that this means that these communities will be responsible for building more homes and that due to their growth, these cities will also need to play a bigger role in preventing and ending homelessness. 

Peterborough Homelessness Prevention
The Peterborough Coordinated Access System aims to prevent and reduce homelessness and provide streamlined access to available supports. The page provides monthly data on homelessness in Peterborough and resources on Housing First.

Housing and Homelessness – City of Red Deer
The City of Red Deer administers funding from the federal and provincial governments for affordable housing and homelessness. This page provides a list of all the plans and reports related to housing and homelessness, including contact information for Safe Harbour Society and Red Deer Native Friendship Society.

Human Development Council (St John, NB)
Human Development Council’s Coordinated Access page provides information on how to get added to the By Name List if you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness in Saint John, and how to provide updates for clients already on the list.

Below is a list of sites of national and global sources of leading research, policy and practice in housing, health, and homelessness

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH)
The Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) is a national non-profit organization that aims to end homelessness in Canada. The website provides information on their mission, initiatives, and events.

Homeless Hub
The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is the largest national research institute devoted to homelessness in Canada. The COH is the curator of the Homeless Hub – a library of over 30,000 resources. 

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) provides housing support and uplifts communities. The website provides information on their mission, initiatives, and resources, including disaster recovery and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA).

Make the Shift (The global movement to secure the human right to housing)
The Shift is a worldwide movement that recognizes housing as a human right, not a commodity or an extractive industry. The website provides information on how to get involved, including following The Shift on social media and using the hashtag #maketheshift.

International Journal on Homelessness
The International Journal on Homelessness (IJOH) is an academic journal that focuses on preventing and ending homelessness globally.

OrgCode Consulting
OrgCode Consulting is a leading organization committed to preventing, reducing, and ending homelessness. They specialize in strategy, planning, training, leadership development, community engagement, and data analysis for non-profits, NGOs, and government agencies.

Community Solutions
Community Solutions is a non-profit organization dedicated to ending homelessness through the Built for Zero movement. They work with cities and counties, providing resources, methodologies, and support to achieve lasting solutions and create a future where homelessness is not inevitable.

Built for Zero Canada
Built for Zero Canada is a national program that aims to end chronic and veteran homelessness in Canada. They work with leading communities to reduce homelessness, provide real-time data, and implement coordinated access. The British Columbia First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative (BCFNDGI) is a comprehensive and integrated approach to addressing complicated and long-standing data governance issues. 

Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network (CLELN)
The Canadian Lived Experience Leadership Network (CLELN) is a collective of diverse people with lived experience of homelessness and expertise in grassroots organizing, advocacy, mentorship, and peer support. CLELN works to eliminate homelessness and housing insecurity through research, policy, advocacy, training, and collaboration. 

Nick Falvo Consulting: Blog
Nick Falvo’s blog provides insights on affordable housing, homelessness, and social policy in Canada. Recent posts include “Homelessness among Indigenous peoples” and “Health and homelessness.”

BC First Nations Data Governance Initiative
The British Columbia First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative (BCFNDGI) is a collaboration of nations asserting data sovereignty. The website provides information on the BCFNDGI’s mission, tools, and community planning resources.

British Columbia Network Environment For Indigenous Health Research (BC NEIHR)
The BC NEIHR (British Columbia Network Environment for Indigenous Health Research) website provides resources, funding opportunities, and a platform for Indigenous researchers, students, and Indigenous communities to engage in co-learning and capacity building. 

First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC)
The First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) is a non-profit organization that supports First Nations data sovereignty and information governance through the First Nations Principles of OCAP®. They conduct national surveys and provide education and training services.

Pathways Housing First Institute
Pathways Housing First is a non-profit organization that provides stable and independent housing to chronically homeless mentally ill individuals. They offer training, technical assistance, and resources to agencies transitioning to Housing First.

Reaching Home Coordinated Access Guide
The Reaching Home Coordinated Access Guide provides guidance and detailed information on how to design, implement, and operate a coordinated access system. It is the first guide of its kind to be developed in Canada and supports communities receiving funding from Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy and beyond. The guide includes step-by-step information on the seven core components of Coordinated Access, including a centralized database, clear access points of entry, common assessment, standardized protocols, and resources focused on ensuring that people can connect with appropriate housing and housing supports in an efficient manner.

Below is a number of reports related to specific topics in housing and homelessness

Pan-Canadian Women’s Housing And Homelessness Survey
The Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network (WNHHN) released the largest gender-specific dataset on homelessness in Canada to date, in collaboration with the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness and other organizations

Evictions And Eviction Prevention
The University of Winnipeg’s Institute of Urban Studies conducted research on evictions in Canada, resulting in a report and toolkit of promising practices for eviction prevention. The study includes tenant demographics, tenant needs, program eviction rates and evictions prevented, tenure length, reasons for moving, and previous housing. 

Exiting Homelessness In Calgary: Understanding Pathways Towards Being Housed
The Exiting Homelessness in Calgary report provides insights on the experiences of exiting homelessness, including resources, connections, services, and attitudes. The report was published in 2020 by the Calgary Homeless Foundation

Invisible intersectionality in measuring vulnerability among individuals experiencing homelessness – critically appraising the VI-SPDAT
The resource titled “Invisible Intersectionality: Measuring Vulnerability Among Individuals Experiencing Homelessness” applies an intersectional analysis to explore racial and gender differences in the VI-SPDAT vulnerability measure among a large community sample. The study highlights potential racial bias and its impact on housing decisions for Black women experiencing homelessness

Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Determining Eligibility and Allocating Services and Housing for Adults Experiencing HomelessnessThe Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) assesses a person’s level of vulnerability in ten domains and is used to determine eligibility and allocate services and housing for adults experiencing homelessness. The Canadian version of the tool is available on the Homeless Hub, along with a few excerpts from the manual. The VAT is considered the best tool available for identifying and prioritizing adults experiencing chronic and episodic homelessness. The Homeless Hub also provides a toolkit for further reading on assessment.

Nanaimo Health And Housing Action Plan: Building Our Path Forward
Health and Housing Action Plan Nanaimo” serves as a five-year roadmap for collaboration and bold action to ensure affordable and accessible health and housing for all residents in Nanaimo

Revisioning Coordinated Access: Fostering Indigenous Best Practices towards a Wholistic Systems Approach to Homelessness
“Revisioning Coordinated Access: Fostering Indigenous Best Practices towards a Wholistic Systems Approach to Homelessness” is a report co-authored by the Social Planning and Research Council of Hamilton – Indigenous Reaching Home Team and Hub Solutions, exploring the national shift in addressing homelessness through a coordinated access approach and its impact on Indigenous communities. The report presents findings from a year-long research project that engaged with Indigenous community members and leadership in Hamilton, Ontario, as well as Indigenous experts on homelessness across Canada. 

The State of Systems Approaches to Preventing and Ending Homelessness in Canada
State Systems Approaches to Preventing and Ending Homelessness in Canada captures insights and sparks discussion among leaders, policymakers, and community members involved in addressing homelessness.

Advancing a Five-Stage Typology of Homelessness Prevention
Advancing a Five-Level Typology of Homelessness Prevention explores evidence gaps in homelessness prevention across different categories, with a focus on the US. It is published in the International Journal on Homelessness.

Tsemberis, Sam & Macnaughton, Eric & Howard, Whitney & Aubry, Tim & Ecker, John. (2017). Final Report of the Vulnerability Assessment Tool Evaluation: Narrative Summary of Quantitative Results and Qualitative Findings.
The Pathways Vulnerability Assessment Tool (VAT) Executive Summary provides an overview of the VAT, which assesses an individual experiencing homelessness or marginal housing on 10 domains. The tool is used to determine the level of vulnerability and assist in the placement of clients into supportive housing units. The Homeless Hub provides access to the Canadian version of the tool and a few excerpts from the manual.

A Message from OrgCode on the VI-SPDAT Moving Forward (Jan 2021)
OrgCode Consulting has announced that they will no longer be investing time or resources in updating and supporting the VI-SPDAT (Vulnerability Index-Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) in a quest to accelerate activities that further promote racial and gender equity and acknowledge vulnerabilities. However, the full SPDAT (Service Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool) as a service planning and case management tool will continue to be supported. 

Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (2018) BACKGROUNDER: Homelessness-Specific Common Assessment Tools Currently Used Broadly
Assessment Tools in Use in Canada provides an overview of assessment tools used in Canada to identify and prioritize individuals experiencing homelessness for housing and services. Here are some of the key points from the document:

  • The STARS Common Assessment Tool was developed in Toronto to understand the needs of people experiencing homelessness at a system and individual level.
  • Assessment tools are important for service delivery and provide a means of screening clients.
  • The British Columbia First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative (BCFNDGI) provides data governance tools to support self-determination and preserve and develop intellectual property for Indigenous peoples in British Columbia.
  • The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) conducted a social needs assessment and strategy to identify the social needs of the community, including housing and homelessness.
  • The document highlights the importance of using assessment tools that are culturally appropriate and trauma-informed, and that prioritize the voices and experiences of people with lived experience of homelessness

Publicly available Media from around the globe that addresses issues of Housing and Homelessness

Vienna’s Radical Idea – Affordable Housing For All
This video explores Vienna’s approach to affordable housing and how it has become a model for other cities.

San Francisco Public Works TV
As San Francisco sleeps, the Neighborhood Enhancement Action Team, or NEAT Team, is keeping our City’s toughest alleyways and corridors clean and safe. Join us as we ride along with Public Works crew member Nat Mansker to experience some of their daily challenges.

Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing
San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) provides information on accessing services, housing, and temporary shelter for people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco. The website also includes information on the department’s mission, contact information, and participant grievance policy. The HSH offers site-based and scattered-site permanent supportive housing, as well as other resources such as affordable rental and homeownership opportunities, housing resources for veterans, and a Housing Ladder program.

Navigation Centres
The website for the San Francisco Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing (HSH) provides information and resources related to the homelessness response system and accessing temporary shelter.