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Changing the Story on Homelessness: A Series Seeking Solutions


Photo by Jackie Dives.

If tonight is an average one, some 200,000 Canadians will be without a place of their own to sleep. That number hasn’t changed much in 20 years. With too few beds, short-term shelters overflow into parks and alleys. With no fixed address, those without a home too easily drift toward the margins of society, facing mounting barriers to putting their lives back on a firm footing. But it needn’t be this way.

In a unique collaboration, The Tyee and Megaphone Magazine partnered to spend six months looking at ways we could change the familiar story and bring the number of unsheltered Canadians down.

Stefania Seccia, also Megaphone’s managing editor, begins her inquiry with a look inside a new way of thinking about so-called “tent cities” — not as eyesores, but as a place where people can be connected with services that may lead them to more permanent shelter. In future reports, she’ll meet Canadians who are turning that well-known NIMBY reaction — Not In My Backyard — toward supportive housing on its head; question the assumptions we make about what a “home” needs to look like for someone without one; and introduce a promising tool for keeping vulnerable individuals from losing their place to begin with.

In This Series



We’re Teaming Up to Find Fresh Solutions for Homelessness

The Tyee and Megaphone Magazine join forces on a six-month project, launching today.

By Robyn Smith and Jessica Hannon, 7 Nov 2016



Rethinking Tent Cities as a Help in Housing Crisis, Not a Nuisance

Activists say BC should follow Portland, Seattle in allowing shelter under polycotton.

By Stefania Seccia, 7 Nov 2016



Yes! In My Backyard!

A commitment to neighbourliness eases resistance to new supportive housing. Part of a series.

By Stefania Seccia, 5 Dec 2016



No, Homelessness Doesn’t Have to Be Forever

Calgary and other cities are ‘wrapping’ their citizens in help, starting with shelter. It works.

By Stefania Seccia, 16 Jan 2017



We’re Losing What ‘SRO’ Hotels Can Do Right

For some, much-maligned ‘single-room occupancy’ means independent shelter within their budget. And it’s vanishing.

By Stefania Seccia, 13 Feb 2017



To End Homelessness, Prevent It from Happening in the First Place

Early diagnosis, access to multiple supports keep people off the street.

By Stefania Seccia, 13 Mar 2017



What If We Acted as Though Homelessness Were a Real Emergency?

Cities that have tried it in the United States have made headway.

By Stefania Seccia, 12 Apr 2017


Carnegie Community Centre

Six Ways to End Homelessness in BC

A plan and a commitment can go a long way to lessen the crisis on the streets. Last in a series.

By Stefania Seccia, 21 Apr 2017