Women and gender minorities, especially those escaping violence, are inequitably impacted by homelessness and housing instability. Services and housing options do exist to support this population. However, not all sectors are aware, nor are they equipped to address the complex needs of women and children who have experienced domestic violence.
This Lab moves beyond traditional supports for women and children fleeing violence in developing a “Safe at Home” housing model. Safe at Home programs offer women the option to remain in their own homes while recovering from violence and instead relocates the offenders of violence. Safe at Home brings many sectors together to provide home security measures, health and social services. It also will help women fleeing violence gain financial security and provide services and supports to offenders.
3 Key Findings
Co-develop a housing model that keeps women and children impacted by domestic violence in their homes by relocating domestic violence offenders.
Reduce chronic homelessness among victims of domestic violence with a roadmap solution that can be scaled to support families across Canada.
Strengthen partnerships and working relationships across sectors to support women impacted by domestic violence.
Project scope and expected outcomes
Challenging the traditional approach
Traditional approaches to housing are gender-blind, meaning they are created without considering the unique needs of women. When we fail to address the challenges that women face, we reinforce gender biases instead of breaking them down.
Gender transformative policies help make housing and social services meet everyone's needs. It's currently a rare approach in the housing and social service environment – it has the potential to enhance the supply of resources available. In the past decade, other countries have successfully mobilized sectors to support gender-transformative, trauma-informed housing solutions for women fleeing violence, while Canada trails.
This Lab challenges the way women and children fleeing violence are supported by developing a Canadian “Safe at Home” housing model. This model enables survivors of domestic violence to stay in their homes.
This Solutions Lab will accelerate the development of a Safe at Home pilot by:
- Co-designing with people who have lived experience
- getting buy-in from diverse sectors
- forming a new network of partnerships
The learnings from this process will then support the scaling and replication of the approach in other communities across Canada.
The Lab has 5 phases:
- The Definition Phase includes project planning and scoping. It’ll create a stakeholder list focused on partners such as children’s aid, family courts and security, as well as developing an engagement plan.
- The Discovery Phase includes desktop research, key stakeholder interviews with subject matter experts and a discovery phase workshop or lab. It will also provide an opportunity to connect people with lived experience and system stakeholders.
- The Development Phase will co-develop new ideas with stakeholder input. This will be done by hosting an advisory committee meeting, an ideal experience design planning session and a lab for program design. This will ensure Safe at Home hosts components that are both desirable and feasible to end users.
- The Prototype and Test Phase will test and refine the shared ideas and solutions learned in the first 3 phases. This phase will host a prototyping lab to complete the pilot program design, add supplementary research to the prototype and refine and test the model using the feedback provided.
- Finally, the Roadmap Phase will communicate the clear path to realizing the preferred solution. Another advisory committee meeting will be hosted during this phase. The project team will also complete the roadmap, a final report on lab events with associated materials and share public-facing documents on the project.
Creating a roadmap for families across Canada
The approach explored through this Solutions Lab will bring sectors together to encourage gender equity in housing and social services. The Lab will create a new housing program that focuses on women’s needs and address systemic gender inequities. The Lab team will pilot the Safe at Home solution in Hamilton. They intend to replicate the program in communities across Canada.
- Adrienne Pacini – SHS Consulting
- Dr. Patricia O’Campo – MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions
- Janisha Kamalanathan – MAP Centre for Urban Health Solutions
- Christine Pacini – SHS Consulting
- Lanxi Dong – SHS Consulting
- Cathy Watts – Peer2Peer Consultants
- Valerie Sadler – Mission Services Hamilton
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.