Last week, CSH conducted our first international Charrette in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada. Contracting with the United Way of Saskatoon and area, CSH coordinated the two-day event, assembling expert panelists, some from other Canadian provinces and cities like Edmonton and Winnipeg, and facilitating discussion in an effort to move toward creating a plan to end homelessness in Saskatoon.
With over 230 attendees, Saskatoon was one of the most successful Charrettes conducted by CSH. Community groups were well represented and conversation was candid in identifying current issues of the homeless system, respectful in recognizing input from various community members, and productive in discussing possible solutions.
As a result of the Charrette, Saskatoon is well on its way to create a Governing Body, Board of Directors, including representatives of business, Aboriginal tribes, and people with lived experience. The United Way plans to announce the Plan and the Board at their annual meeting on June 12th.
The intensive discussion process included sessions on Housing First, Governance and Accountability, Meeting the Needs of Aboriginal People, among others. By bringing together government representatives, funders, housing and service providers, community members, and those with lived experience, CSH condensed a discussion and decision-making process, which might have otherwise dragged on for years, into 71 actionable recommendations and strategies for Saskatoon to pursue. These recommendations were presented to the community for feedback, and were very well received, with a few minor revisions.
As a result of this process, Saskatoon is well positioned to be a leading community to end homelessness in Canada.
According to Tim Richter, Director of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, “The Charrette process was brilliant for accelerating and focusing the planning process, engaging the community in a meaningful way, and most importantly, galvanizing the community for action on ending homelessness.”
Read more about the event covered by The Star Phoenix.
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