Making Research Matter: Mobilizing research to impact on homelessness policy
Social innovation involves designing and testing new ways of addressing old problems. Stephen Gaetz explores the role of social innovation in inspiring change in how we respond to youth homelessness in Canada. The focus of this presentation will be on the latest results from the work of Making the Shift – Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS), a partnership between the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada. While MtS has developed a solid evidence base for the prevention of youth homelessness, it is clear that the production of quality research alone is not enough to produce the change we want to see. Gaetz will discuss the knowledge mobilization strategies employed by MtS to help engage service providers and all orders of government to inform, change minds, and contribute to a change in how we think about and respond to this seemingly intractable problem. For those interested in research impact, this is a compelling example of how to achieve it.
Gaetz is a professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. In 2021, he was named York Research Chair in Homelessness and Research Impact. As a scholar, he has had a longstanding interest in understanding homelessness – its causes, how it is experienced and potential solutions. His program of research has been defined by his desire to “make research matter” through conducting and mobilizing rigorous scholarly research that contributes not only to our knowledge base on homelessness but also to solutions to homelessness that impact on policy, practice and public opinion.
Gaetz is the president of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub at York University as well as the scientific director of Making the Shift – Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab. In 2017 he was awarded the member of the Order of Canada. In 2021 and in partnership with A Way Home Canada, the collective body of work on youth homelessness prevention was designated by the United Nations as the Toronto Charter Centre of Excellence on Youth Homelessness Prevention.