We’re a Global Thought Leader on Homelessness Prevention

We know how to prevent homelessness. For over a decade, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness has been building an evidence base and paving the way for governments and communities to move from addressing homelessness through an emergency crisis response to preventing it altogether.

From an emergency response…

…to a coordinated system of solutions

Each year nearly 235,000 Canadians will experience homelessness. It doesn’t have to be this way. By shifting how we respond, from a reliance on emergency services to a coordinated system of solutions, we can prevent and end homelessness in Canada.

Our Strategic Objectives

Work in collaboration with key partners to co-create and operationalize a comprehensive, multidisciplinary research agenda that will produce knowledge on effective approaches to the prevention of homelessness.

Nurture reciprocal partnerships with Indigenous stakeholders to support an Indigenous-led research agenda focusing on the prevention of Indigenous homelessness in Canada.

Leverage high impact partnerships to enhance uptake and integration of key research evidence into policy and practice and ultimately lead to systems transformation.

Contribute to the broader adoption of upstream responses to homelessness that reduce the number of individuals and families at risk of or experiencing homelessness.

Support the development of a new generation of scholars with expertise in homelessness research, Indigenous methodologies and ways of knowing to co-create and mobilize research evidence into effective policy and practice.

Achieve a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive Canadian research enterprise through meaningful engagement of people with lived experience.

Our Projects

Homeless Hub

The Homeless Hub is the largest library of homelessness research in the world.

Homelessness Learning Hub

The Homelessness Learning Hub is professional development and community capacity-building that provides free training and resources to the homeless-serving sector.

Hub Solutions

Hub Solutions is our social enterprise that supports agencies, communities, and policymakers to improve their capacity to prevent and end homelessness.

Making the Shift

Making the Shift contributes to the transformation of how we respond to youth homelessness through research and knowledge mobilization specific to youth homelessness prevention and housing stabilization

Toronto Centre of Excellence on Youth Homelessness Prevention

Our Geneva UN Charter Centre housed at York University aims to mobilize and adapt Canadian and international innovations, leadership, and knowledge on youth homelessness prevention and sustainable exits from homelessness.

Systems Planning Collective Logo

Systems Planning Collective

A partnership between COH, A Way Home Canada and HelpSeeker, the Systems Planning Collective is dedicated to helping communities and governments prevent and end homelessness by supporting evidence-based systems planning, capacity building and technical assistance.

Our Story

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness is a non-partisan research and policy partnership between academics, policy and decision makers, service providers and people with lived experience of homelessness.

Led by Stephen Gaetz, President & CEO, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness works in collaboration with partners to conduct and mobilize research designed to have an impact on solutions to homelessness. The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness evolved out of a 2008 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council-funded project called the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. Since that time, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness has established itself as a global thought leader on solutions to homelessness and an innovator in knowledge mobilization practices.

To bridge the gap between research, policy, and practice, the COH goes beyond the mandate of a traditional research institute. As one of the largest homelessness-dedicated research institutes in the world, we support service providers, policy makers and governments to improve their capacity to end homelessness.

Our philosophy is simple

Through collaborative approaches across research, evaluation and design, we can develop and mobilize evidence-based solutions and, together, prevent and end homelessness.

Our Research Projects

Our research aims to contribute to policy development and program delivery for homelessness prevention.