Newspapers, television and films cast homeless shelters as places of desperation, sadness and sickness. However, over the last 25 years, homeless shelters have changed dramatically.
Shelters have become more professional and sophisticated in addressing homelessness in their communities. They now do much more than provide a bed and a meal for the night — they offer different methods of intervention, different types of services and different forms of connection to the communities they serve.
This book offers essays by experienced shelter managers who address the future of the homeless shelter in Canada. This diverse collection also includes a chapter by Dr. Sam Tsemberis, the father of the successful Housing First Model. There are contributions by leaders in the homelessness field from across Canada, who have been at the forefront of developing unique services for women, youth, Indigenous people, and families. The days of shelters serving to merely warehouse homeless people out of sight and mind are being replaced by specialized approaches that are reducing homelessness in Canada.
The contributors have years of experience understanding the causes of and solutions to homelessness and the role that shelters can play in achieving their ultimate goal — the elimination of all forms of homelessness in Canada.
JAMES HUGHES has worked as a senior administrator in social services for more than fifteen years. He served as Director General of the Old Brewery Mission, Quebec's largest centre serving homeless people. He was the Deputy Minister of Social Development in New Brunswick from 2008 to 2011 and now works for the Montreal based McConnell Foundation. He is the author of Early Intervention: How Canada's social programs can work better, save lives, and often save money. He lives in Montreal.
This book is an invaluable resource for anyone working in—or writing about—the shelter system. I learned lessons I wish I had known as a journalist. It is an eye-opener for Canadians who don't realize how homeless shelters have evolved since their inception in the '80s as charities dispensing meals, showers, and temporary beds.