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Strategies for Change: Tackling Homelessness in Canada

October 28, 2021
10:00 AM EDT - 11:00 AM EDT

Event Description:

Three activists call for real change to end homelessness in Canada: Alex Nelson, Cathy Crowe and Charlie Burrell. Alex introduces us to advocacy through their research at Western University, exploring who unhoused people are and dispelling some of the myths. Cathy advocates for policy changes on housing and homelessness both locally and nationally. She discusses the Trinity-Bellwoods encampment evictions. Charlie shares how the town of Moncton, NB, feeds precariously housed individuals and offers ways to return to a more normal life. To hear the full series, visit, external link.

Speaker Bios:

Cathy Crowe

Cathy Crowe is a long-time Street Nurse who works in the area of social justice nursing. She is a frequent guest lecturer and commentator on subjects related to homelessness, housing, advocacy, activism and social justice. Cathy has been the recipient of numerous awards including six honorary Doctorates in Law, Science and Nursing, an international Human Rights Award and the prestigious Atkinson Economic Justice Award. Cathy is also a ground-breaking author (Dying for a Home: Homeless Activists Speak Out;  A Knapsack Full of Dreams:Memoirs of a Street Nurse and documentary filmmaker (Home Safe Calgary, Home Safe Toronto). Her work is the subject of a moving documentary: Street Nurse by filmmaker Shelley Saywell. Today she is a Public Affiliate in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at X University. She received the Order of Canada in 2018. She is a co-founder of the Shelter and Housing Justice Network in Toronto. Visit Cathy Crowe's website, external link.

Alex Nelson (they/them)

Alex Nelson is a PhD candidate in the Sociocultural Anthropology Department at Western University. Their research Interests and Specializations include Coping and Survival Strategies Deployed by Homeless Single Mothers: Negotiating Homelessness, Motherhood and Identity in Victoria, BC, and London, Ontario.

Charlie Burrell

Charlie Burrell is the founder and an active member of The Humanity Project, a non-profit organization that works to ignite social change and improve the everyday lives of fellow human beings while moving towards improving social consciousness and social development. Charlie noticed an increase in the number of hungry and homeless in his town—Riverview, NB—and he began feeding people in a parking lot. Today, The Humanity Project offers food and shelter to hundreds of vulnerable people, with an eye to also providing help for addictions and mental health supports in future. And it's all done through community donations.

Get involved/More information:

  • The Shelter and Housing Justice Network, external link (SHJN) is a network of homelessness and housing advocates, shelter providers, healthcare professionals, faith leaders, legal workers, and researchers who have come together to address the issue of homelessness in Canada on a local, provincial, and national level. Operating under the mantra of “shelter rights, housing rights, human rights” SHJN seeks immediate action and long-term sustainable solutions in the shelter and housing sectors. Responding to the homelessness crisis through a humanitarian approach, SHJN seeks to raise awareness and demand change as it relates to emergency shelter, social housing, and the protection of human rights. 
  • Visit for more information on Cathy Crowe, external link.
  • The Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network, external link (WNHHN) is a collective of diverse women, including those with lived expertise, who are working to eliminate homelessness and housing insecurity for women, girls, and gender-diverse peoples across Canada
  • The University of Western Ontario is a public research university in London, Ontario. The main campus is located on 455 hectares of land, surrounded by residential neighbourhoods and the Thames River bisecting the campus's eastern portion. The university operates twelve academic faculties and schools. CICK FM 93.9, external link is a broadcast radio station from Smithers, BC, Canada providing programs with a focus on local artists, non-mainstream Canadian music, and commentary reflecting the community's diverse perspectives.
  • The Humanity Project, external link is a registered not-for-profit corporation and a social community for believers that the world cannot change with one person’s actions alone – we must unite, regardless of age, gender, race, education, sexual preference, language, social status, religion or political views. Together, we can ignite social change and improve the everyday lives of our fellow human beings. The Humanity Project is the work of community members in Moncton, New Brunswick that help us move towards social development.