Webinar recording: Creating system change through the adoption of Housing First principles and programs

About the webinar

On March 30, 2023, EENet hosted a webinar titled, “Creating system change through the adoption of Housing First principles and programs.” This webinar was presented by EENet, the Canadian Housing First Network, and the Housing First Europe Hub and was the second in the international Housing First webinar series. In this webinar, experts and practitioners from Canada, the United States and Europe shared their research, policies and practices on how to create system change through the implementation of Housing First principles and programs.

This webinar provides perspectives from different countries and gain insights into effective strategies for implementing and scaling up Housing First programs.

Download the webinar slides (PDF) and view the video recording:


Catherine McKenney (they/them) is a former City of Ottawa Councillor and 2022 mayoral candidate. While serving on Council, Catherine was the Council-appointed Liaison for Housing and Homelessness. They founded CitySHAPES, a non-profit, national organization that leads ground-breaking policy, advocacy and community engagement work on key challenges facing Canadian municipalities.


Melanie Schmit is the co-founder of Housing First Netherlands. Her organization aims to end and prevent homelessness through a mind shift, leading to a systems change across the Netherlands, based on Housing First through advocacy, training, research and support. Since 2014, Melanie has been involved locally, nationally, and internationally in the Housing First movement and the start-up of several practices for adults and youth in the country. Melanie knows the work inside out, as a support worker, as a manager, and as a pioneer in the implementation and development of Housing First in the Netherlands. In addition, she has worked as a coach and trainer. Over the years, she has been able to translate these experiences into what Housing First can bring and needs at different levels.

James Mathy is the Administrator of Milwaukee County Housing Services. James administers Milwaukee County's various housing programs, including the Milwaukee County Housing Authority, Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs, homeless programs, and real estate development. James is also the author of Milwaukee County's Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and has over 25 years of experience in housing and mental health. He holds a Master's Degree in Public Service from Marquette University.

Sam Tsemberis developed the Pathways Housing First program. He leads the Pathways Housing First Institute, which provides consultation and implementation support to service organizations, and city, county and national governments. He also collaborates on program design, education, training, and research across the globe. Dr. Tsemberis is a community-clinical psychologist on the faculty of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

Samara Jones has worked on homelessness and social justice issues both in Europe and Canada. She is based in Brussels and is the Coordinator of the Housing First Europe Hub. The Housing First Europe Hub is a partnership of organisations, including the European Federation of Organisations working with Homeless People (FEANTSA) and Finland-based Y-Foundation, as well as over 20 housing providers, governments, cities, researchers and foundations from across Europe and beyond. The Housing First Europe Hub promotes systems change to end and prevent homelessness based on the principles of Housing First.


About the organizers

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Canadian Housing First Network - Community of Interest

The Canadian Housing First l Network – Community of Interest (CHFN-COI) assists communities across Canada to develop, evaluate, and improve Housing First (HF) programs based on the Pathways model tested, adapted, and shown to be effective in the At Home  / Chez Soi Demonstration Project.

The CHFN-CoI (formerly the Ontario Housing First Regional Network Community of Interest (OHFRN-CoI)), consist of HF champions, HF programs across Canada, policy-makers planners, managers, service-providers, researchers, and persons with lived experience, including representatives from the housing, health, and justice sectors and Indigenous housing and support providers.

The CHFN is hosted by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) and Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

Housing First Europe Hub

The Housing First Europe Hub was established in 2016 by the Y-Foundation (Finland) and FEANTSA (the European Federation of National Organisations Working with Homeless People) along with more than 15 partners.  Since then, the Hub has grown to include more than 37 organizations, cities, government ministries, housing providers and researchers from across Europe and beyond.

The Hub works in partnership with core and associate partners to promote Housing First as the first and central response to homelessness.

Evidence Exchange Network

Evidence Exchange Network (EENet) is part of the Knowledge Mobilization portfolio in the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Provincial System Support Program (PSSP). EENet moves evidence to action to improve programming and inform policy change.

Our team works closely with researchers, clinicians, policymakers, system planners, service providers, and people with lived experiences to mobilize knowledge and help people connect with each other.

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