Finding easily accessible housing is a challenge for many groups in Saskatoon, especially for people who face multiple barriers. Indigenous and racialized members of the community, people experiencing mental health challenges and addictions and those fleeing domestic violence face more barriers that make it more difficult to find core housing.
This Lab intends to create a framework for housing the most vulnerable people experiencing housing insecurity with a collaborative approach to problem-solving. The Lab will focus on Saskatoon’s housing sector to find new ways for the sector and community partners to work together.
3 Key Findings
Co-develop a housing model that offers services to people experiencing multiple, complex barriers or disorders that prevent them from accessing core housing.
Provide a new model for collaborating that will improve housing access and reduce year-over-year homelessness that can be used in Saskatoon and applied to other areas of Canada with similar challenges.
Expand wrap-around services to address an especially high proportion of Indigenous community members experiencing homelessness.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Creating an intersectional approach to housing those in need
Nearly three-quarters of Saskatoon community members experiencing homelessness identified addiction and/or mental health issues as the reason for losing their housing. Addressing homelessness with this in mind, through an intersectional approach, will enable the Lab to focus on possible solutions for those who are experiencing a variety of challenges. Focusing on individuals with these intersecting challenges allows the Lab to explore ways of supporting community. It provides opportunities to develop new ways of collaboration between service providers involved in housing.
This Lab will remain mindful of the cultural and historical context lived by the people affected. Keeping lived experiences top of mind will help meet unique needs and ensure that the solutions properly respond to their challenges in finding housing.
This Lab will build stronger partnerships to achieve better outcomes in the housing sector. This Lab intends to create a systemic approach to address the housing needs of those with complex challenges. It’ll also ensure short- and long-term progress can be made to house community members.
In the short- and medium-term, this Lab will improve Saskatoon’s housing system with a new working model of collaborative support between agencies. In the long term, the Lab will:
- increase in scale and serve more people and their families who experience housing insecurity
- strengthen partnerships to provide additional services
- inspire other housing networks across Canada
The Lab will be done in 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase includes project planning, a confirmation of problem and sector influence, and will confirm the Lab participants. This phase refines the problem's focus and provides the scope for the remainder of the project.
- The Discovery Phase focuses on building the experience map and focus groups. It will also include an exploration of the process of service drivers, complete system mapping and explore practice discovery. This phase will generate insight through big data and user insights to understand the current state of issues.
- The Development Phase will result in essential insights and generate ideas to address the challenge questions established in the Definition Phase. In this phase, the Lab team will co-develop new ideas through stakeholder input.
- The Prototype and Test Phase will focus on in-depth testing of proposed solutions and prototypes as well as host an assessment to refine shared ideas and multiple potential solutions.
- The Roadmap Phase includes the creation of key actions, a guide for implementation and identifies those responsible for each action. This phase will establish a clear path for communicating the preferred solution and replication of the solution for application across communities in need.
Creating opportunity for replication
A central part of the Lab is sharing the findings, design and roadmap with partners and similar organizations for future use and replication. These findings will be shared through an open-source guide that housing providers can use in their own context.
- Priscilla Johnstone – Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership (SHIP)
- John Lewis – Intelligent Futures
- Cassandra Caiger – Intelligent Futures
- Jason Mercredi – Prairie Harm Reduction (PHR)
- Shirley Isbister – Central Urban Metis Federation Inc. (CUMFI)
- Lesley Anderson – City of Saskatoon
- Sarah King – The Lighthouse Supported Living Inc.
- Sarah Buhler – University of Saskatchewan College of Law
- Cameron Choquette – Saskatchewan Landlord Association (SLA)
- Doug Harder – Saskatchewan Health Authority
- Sheri Benson – United Way of Saskatoon and Area
Get More Information:
Visit the National Housing Strategy’s Innovation page.
Search our Housing Knowledge Centre for important updates on the progress of this lab.