Canada lacks research on homeless, says York professor

The scarcity of comprehensive research on Canadian homelessness has led Calgary to look to the United States for solutions to curb the problem rather than across this country, wrote the Calgary Herald Aug. 19, in a pre-speech interview with Stephen Gaetz, associate dean in York’s Faculty of Education.

Gaetz is the scheduled keynote speaker at a research symposium hosted by the Calgary Homeless Foundation [on Aug. 19], noted the Herald. The city’s 10-year plan is modelled after successes in cities like Denver and Portland, Ore. Federal governments in the US and Britain have been far more active in analyzing homelessness than Canada’s leaders, Gaetz said in an interview.

"Practices developed on the ground by government aren’t always based on evidence," he said, pointing to the longstanding over-reliance on emergency shelters, which Calgary and other cities are trying now to phase out.

Gaetz, a former Calgarian who has worked hands-on with Toronto’s homeless, has spearheaded the Homeless Hub, an online library of scholarly and non-scholarly papers on the issue. Over the years, North American research has determined that affordable housing is the first priority to ending homelessness, he said.

He added that it’s a less-expensive way to get people off the streets than dealing with them in courts and hospitals – two elements highlighted in Calgary’s plan. "Calgary is on the really progressive end of things," he said. "The plan is reasonable, and looks to be tackling a lot of the well-known challenges."

There are many great efforts in Canada that should be better known, like Toronto’s housing plan and Victoria’s integration of various services for homeless people. And there’s still more that researchers and policy makers need to learn everywhere, Gaetz said. "We still don’t know why people stop becoming homeless. Once they leave homelessness, we don’t keep track of them."

Alumna’s dance academy will undergo expansion

Jenna Wright (BFA ’06) considers herself fortunate to have stepped up her love of dance into a successful business adventure, wrote the Belleville Intelligencer Aug. 19. And after only two years of operating Inside Out Dance Academy, the 23-year-old Wright is in the process of expanding her premises to meet the growing demand by students for new programs.

"I knew coming here that I was going to need to expand but I never thought I would be able to expand so quickly," said Wright who started her school in 2006 after graduating from the dance program in York University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

On air

  • Former field hockey Olympian Sheila Forshaw, executive officer of York Sports & Recreation and the School of Kinesiology & Health Science in York’s Faculty of Health, spoke about the need for increased funding for Canadian sports, on Winnipeg’s CJOB-AM Radio, Aug. 18.
  • Ian Roberge, political science professor at York’s Glendon College, spoke about the possibility of a federal election, on Radio Canada Aug. 18.