Launch of the CMHC-SSHRC-funded AIRP Partnership: Building Capacity for Promising Practices that Support Older People Experiencing Homelessness in Montreal, Calgary, and Vancouver

VABE Partenariat: Renforcer les Capacités pour des Pratiques Prometteuses qui Soutiennent Personnes Agées en Situation D’itinérance Montréal, Calgary, et Vancouver

November 27, 2020

The Aging in the Right Place (AIRP) Partnership successfully launched stage two of our project in Spring 2020. Funded by Canada’s Mortgage and Housing Cooperation and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (CMHC-SSHRC), this project will evaluate promising practices across the shelter/housing continuum to determine which promote aging in the right place for older persons with experiences of homelessness (OPEH). Our overall goal is to improve shelter and housing options to meet the unique and complex health and social needs of OPEH, including those most at-risk for housing insecurity, based on intersections of risk, such as age, gender identity, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity, disability, Indigenous status, and immigrant status.

While aging in the right place means different things to different people, it involves supporting older adults to live as long as possible in their homes and communities. Where an older person lives impacts their ability to age optimally and must match their unique lifestyles and vulnerabilities. During our Partnership Development stage (2019-2020), we identified promising practices of shelter/housing for OPEH in three urban centres (Montréal, Calgary, and Vancouver) that have seen a dramatic increase in homelessness among adults aged 50+. [SC1] However, what remains unknown is which of these promising practices supports aging in the right place for OPEH; essentially: “what works, why it works, and for whom it works.” We also hope this next stage of research will enable us to determine which of the shelter/housing models should be expanded within their communities to additional sites or other regions across Canada.

Core to the AIRP Partnership is our community-based participatory research approach, which involves working with diverse partners and stakeholders in Canada and internationally. The Partnership’s Executive Committee includes Dr. Canham as the project Director, City Lead co-investigators Drs. Tamara Sussman (Montréal), Christine Walsh (University of Calgary), and Atiya Mahmood (Simon Fraser University), as well as representation from each of the first promising practice sites to be evaluated: Old Brewery Mission’s La Traversée (Montreal); Trinity Place Foundation of Alberta’s Peter Coyle Place (Calgary); and Seniors Services Society of B.C.’s Temporary Housing Program (Vancouver).

In addition, three city-specific Local Advisory Committees have been established in Montréal, Calgary, and Vancouver that include all local partner organizations, collaborators, OPEH advisors, as well as postdoctoral fellows and students. These Committees offer members an opportunity to contribute to the intellectual leadership of the project, discuss project goals, provide feedback on preliminary findings, collaborate, and disseminate project outputs to professional networks.

The AIRP Partnership is also fortunate to be a member of the Canadian Housing Evidence Collaborative, the knowledge mobilization hub for CMHC’s Collaborative Housing Research Network (CHRN), a pan-Canadian, cross-sectoral network dedicated to providing the evidence to meet the goals of Canada’s National Housing Strategy.

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