The rising cost of housing and the lack of available rental options in urban regions is straining emergency housing systems. People who cannot find rental housing are staying longer in emergency housing sites. Many cannot maintain housing when they find it. This creates a repeating cycle of homelessness, but what if affordable rentals were not the only solution to homelessness?
The Housing Journeys Reimagined Lab asks that question, using a Housing First approach. Participants will work together to define and create a model of affordable, supportive homeownership. This model would help people experiencing homelessness access adequate and secure housing that they can call their own.
Key Findings / Key Goals
Create a financially viable, replicable model of affordable, supportive homeownership for people experiencing homelessness.
Link shelter services to affordable homeownership in a way that challenges beliefs and inequities in the housing system.
Share findings, learnings and knowledge so they can be adopted by diverse housing providers across the province and beyond.
Project scope and expected outcomes
A new model
The current housing journey for people experiencing homelessness is linear. They travel a set path, starting with emergency housing, then to transitional housing and finally to community housing. There is a belief that they will never become homeowners or enjoy the wealth-building benefits of homeownership. A model that disrupts that continuum, however, might offer new opportunities for people experiencing homelessness and vulnerable populations.
A human-centred lab approach
A human-centred lab approach is ideal for determining how such a model would look and what it would need.
The Lab will take place in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase will include Lab Team meetings and recruitment of Lab participants and the Advisory Committee. It also will see development of a detailed engagement strategy.
- The Discovery Phase involves key informant interviews to understand, challenges, barriers and opportunities around a potential supportive homeownership model. Several surveys will be sent to people with lived experiences at Blue Door Support Services and Habitat for Humanity GTA. Insight will be synthesized for the next phase.
- The Development Phase includes a video conference to present and gather feedback on the previous phase from participants. Two solution development workshops will bring stakeholders together to co-develop components of a supportive homeownership model.
- The Prototype Phase will take concepts developed in the previous phase to create integrated models. These will be discussed, developed further and evaluated by the Advisory Committee. Another video conference will provide preliminary instructions to participants in the prototyping workshop. Additional subject matter experts will help the Lab team and participants refine their solutions.
- The Roadmap Phase includes milestones and activities that promote the communication and implementation of the Lab’s solutions. There will be a final working session with the Advisory Committee to build the larger implementation plan. A session with partner organizations will discuss piloting the most promising opportunities.
Presenting info in creative ways
A final report will include the Roadmap, which summarizes the Lab activities and insights. The Lab also plans to create and use visuals widely, and to present info in creative ways. The goal is to share findings and knowledge in formats that are easy to understand, such as blog posts.
Project Team: Blue Door Support Services
Location: York Region, Ontario
Project Collaborators / Partners:
- Habitat for Humanity Greater Toronto Area
- SHS Consulting
- United Way Greater Toronto
- Individuals with Lived Experience
Get More Information:
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.