Youth Homelessness Community Planning Webinar

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Ending youth homelessness involves a number of critical elements and actions. These include the implementation of innovative programs and housing solutions tailored for the specific needs of young people as well as structural changes within the operations of homeless-serving systems. The transformation of public systems, including child welfare, education, mental health, income supports and criminal justice and their enhanced integration which can facilitate broad systems of care is essential. Each community also has unique dynamics that must be accounted for in local efforts and plans.

To support the enhanced capacity to respond to youth homelessness in unique local contexts across Canada, A Way Home has developed a toolkit to help communities create plans to prevent, reduce and end homelessness among young people. This webinar will introduce the new toolkit to those who are considering or already leading community efforts to develop strategic responses to youth homelessness. The toolkit will be available on June 8th, 2016.


Alina Turner, PhD

Dr. Alina Turner is recognized as a leading homelessness researcher and is a Fellow at The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary. In her consulting work (Turner Research & Strategy), she supports with a variety of organizations to support human service system planning and integration, including plans to end homelessness and transitions to Housing First. She also engages in academic and applied research on issues including housing stress, poverty, domestic violence, migration and rural social issues. She has extensive experience in strategy and program development on a variety of social issues.

Prior to consulting, Alina was the Vice President of Strategy for the Calgary Homeless Foundation where she led program investments of more than $35M annually, system planning and integration, the Homeless Management Information System, research and policy. She also worked for the United Way of Calgary and Area leading the affordable housing policy and research portfolio. In 2012, she was appointed by the Mayor Nenshi to serve on the Calgary Poverty Reduction Initiative's leadership committee.

Mary-Jane McKitterick, Community Planning Manager, A Way Home

Mary-Jane McKitterick brings over 20 years progressive experience in Canada and abroad to the role of A Way Home’s Community Planning Manager. This includes community engagement and planning, development, homelessness, HIV/AIDS, community-based peacebuilding, education and social justice. She hails from both the small town and the megacity and her experience is supported by graduate degrees in humanities and social science. She loves it when new information turns everything we think we know on its head, especially when it helps us think differently about youth homelessness.

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