Community Research Projects - Alberta Human Services - Government of Alberta

Community Research Projects

The Alberta Homeless Research Consortium (AHRC) was established in 2010 to support the implementation of A Plan for Alberta by building our knowledge about how to end homelessness in Alberta.

The AHRC issued a Call for Proposals (CFP) for community-based research projects that would focus on different aspects of homelessness in different Alberta communities.

Nineteen proposals from five cities were received in response to the AHRC’s call for proposals and 11 were selected to receive grant funding.

The research topics covered a wide range of topics including: homelessness among youth, seniors, and aboriginal peoples, improving data collection, and program effectiveness. These community-based projects relate to the priorities established by the AHRC and have the ability to influence future services, program and policies that address ending homelessness.

All successful applicants received $5,000 for their research project, which are expected to be completed by December 2012.

Community Projects

University of Lethbridge
Assessing Urban Aboriginal Homelessness and Aboriginal Migration Patterns in Lethbridge

The research project will look at the rural to urban migration of aboriginal people into the City of Lethbridge. The purpose of the research will be to:

  • improve understanding of the migration of aboriginal people to Lethbridge
  • improve understanding of how high rates of aboriginal mobility influence urban aboriginal homelessness; and
  • look at the resources being accessed by urban Aboriginal people and determine whether a lack of programs and services is impacting Aboriginal homelessness and mobility.

The Alex
Achieving Independence: Client Acuity and Outcome Measures to Determine Success Across Housing First Programs in Calgary

There is a common perception that “solving homelessness” means that after a certain amount of time, clients in a housing first program will be able to “graduate” into independence. This project will examine what is required for a formerly homeless individual to achieve independence, housing stability and greater self-reliance. Using evidence-based research strategies, this project will identify best practices related to program effectiveness and appropriate interventions to best assist an individual to transition out of our Housing First programs, and into independence.

Wood’s Homes
Calgary Experience of Youth who Become Re-involved in Street Life

This research project will examine the experience of youth who have become re-involved in street life and examine:

  • risk and protective factors associated with recurrence of street involvement, and
  • service approaches that are effective in maintaining housing and stability for youth.

The research will involve interviews with 15 youth (with multiple homeless episodes) to identify the risk and protective factors associated with recurrence of street involvement, and service approaches that are effective in maintaining housing and stability.

Mount Royal University
Exploring the Context of Homelessness: the Effects of Bylaws on Homeless Indivuduals

The project will investigate the effects of Calgary’s bylaws on its’ homeless population. By examining the legal context of homelessness in Calgary, a stronger understanding of some of the justice-related barriers to ending homelessness will be understood. The proposed research will help advance strategies under A Plan for Alberta: Ending Homelessness in Alberta, as well as future policy decisions related to Alberta’s homeless population.

Kerby Centre
Exploring Subsidized Housing Issues for Low-Income Seniors

The purpose of this project is to explore subsidized housing issues for low-income pre-seniors (aged 55 to 64). This group represents a vulnerable population facing multiple challenges related to securing employment, finding affordable housing, health and mobility, and being ineligible for pensions and benefits for those 65 and older.  Affordable, subsidized housing has been identified as one of the strongest factors to prevent homelessness for this demographic. However, little is known about the subsidized housing situation for this age group in Calgary. This study will generate an awareness of housing issues facing this demographic.

Calgary Alpha House Society
Understanding Cultural Safety: Traditional and Client Perspectives

The disproportionate numbers of aboriginal people in the urban setting suggests that pathways in and out of homelessness may differ for Aboriginal people. Culturally-based services are required to address the multiple needs of aboriginal homeless people. A multidisciplinary team representing community and academic researchers will conduct a qualitative study to better understand Aboriginal and client perspectives on how aboriginal cultural values and beliefs may help in the delivery of homelessness services for aboriginal peoples.  The project will examine:

  • Cultural needs from an aboriginal perspective
  • The characteristics of culturally-based services described by clients
  • How this information can be integrated to the delivery of services in shelters in Calgary.

Calgary Alpha House Society
An Evidence-Based Evaluation of the Alpha House Self Sufficiency Scale

Alpha House (AH) is a Calgary community-based organization providing shelter, detox, and housing programs, for homeless individuals dealing with addictions. A priority of AH is to help homeless people find sustainable housing. AH developed and implemented a way of measuring clients’ readiness for self-sufficiency – called the Alpha House Self-Sufficiency Scale (AHS3). Staff administers AHS3 at intake and every 90 days until the client is ready to graduate to independence. AHS3 scores help determine a client’s readiness to graduate into independence. This project will evaluate the effectiveness of this tool in determining the readiness of clients for graduation from the Alpha House program.

City of Grande Prairie
Enabling Quality Community Research

The City of Grande Prairie will deliver a series of workshops to help local community-based housing and support service agencies to design and resource two small scale research projects on homelessness. Two researchers and professors at the University of Alberta will develop curriculum that can be delivered by local individuals with research expertise to guide manager-level staff in agencies to develop research proposals. The main outcomes of the projects are:

  • Increased capacity among community organizations in Grande Prairie to design quality research activities, submit proposals for small-scale community-based research funding, and conduct small-scale research to produce internally valid results; and
  • A minimum of 2 small-scale research project proposals relevant to one or more themes in the Alberta Homelessness Research Agenda for the Grande Prairie area.

Canadian Mental Health Association
Grande Prairie
Engaging the Homeless in Researching Their Own Lived Experience

This research project will include homeless people in research to determine best practices for providing services and supports to end homelessness in Grande Prairie. Research partners, including homeless people, will develop a collaborative research process, collect the data through planned activities, analyze, and interpret, and develop an action plan for the community. The approach is based on the principles of inclusion and accountability, and the notion that even the most at risk and vulnerable population has strengths that can be used for community development.

University of Alberta
Exploring Homeless Youth’s Perceptions and Experiences with Mental Health Issues and Services

Homeless and at- risk-youth are in danger of developing physical and mental health concerns due to their previous home-life experiences and exposure to life on the streets. These youth are at increased risk for sexually transmitted infections, upper respiratory illness, dermatological diseases, pregnancy, substance abuse, self-harming behaviours, suicide, physical and sexual abuse, and mental concerns such as anxiety and depression. This project will explore mental health issues facing youth, as well as the mental health services available to help them. The purpose of this project is to explore and gain a stronger understanding of the mental health histories, needs, and concerns of youth who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

The Mustard Seed
Methodological revisions to the 2012 Mustard Seed Community Survey

The Mustard Seed is a humanitarian organization that delivers basic services, housing and employment programs to those in need. To better understand the characteristics and need of the community it serves, the Mustard Seed uses surveys to gather demographic, housing, employment and education data on the people it serves. This project will assess the methodology and survey techniques to ensure the most reliable research information is being provided.

Created: 2012-04-03
PID: 14677