Crazy Sh!t, Volume 3, 2016

Time for everyone’s favourite blog – the crazy shit from July, August and September.

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A Bias Towards Longevity

One of the weirdest things about homelessness is that the longer you are homeless, the better you are at being homeless. And many services – government, not for profit, faith-based, etc. – feed into this bias. They are generally difficult to navigate unless you have been in the system for a long time.

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Passive to Active: The Role of Day Services

Historically, day services of all kinds (known by names like drop-in centres, day centres, day shelters, resource lounges, open spaces, gathering spots, and so on) played the very important function of giving people that are homeless refuge during the day. This has been especially important in neighbourhoods or communities where shelters are open over night, but lack resources to stay open and serve people during the day. The day services have met a huge array of needs. Often they provide a meal or snack. In the winter they give escape from inclement weather and in the summer a respite from the heat. Bathrooms are almost always available. Many have showers or laundry facilities. It is not uncommon for there to be socio-recreational activities, and/or opportunities for people to mingle and engage. Some bring in external resources like health care, legal services, or even help filing taxes or applying for benefits.

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Characteristics of an Exemplary Diversion Specialist

In training communities on effective diversion, a common question is, “What are the sort of characteristics you’d look for when hiring someone for that position?” It is a great question because it appreciates that the role is somewhat different from other roles that serve people experiencing homelessness or at imminent risk of losing housing. Here are some thoughts.

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Change Yourself Into Something You Love

I believe in hope. I believe that we are malleable. I know so much of our time is spent thinking somehow our bodies are changeable, but our thoughts, opinions and beliefs are not. I know that if we believe the future can be different and better than the present, we can take the steps now that allow for improvement.


Changing yourself is not just about you as one person. Changing yourself also means changing your organization, your interpersonal relationships, your peers.

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Offence is Taken, Not Given

Push envelopes. Blur the edges. Provoke. Grab people’s attention through irreverent comedy. At the most recent National Alliance to End Homelessness conference I got called “gonzo”, “brilliant but irreverent”, and “troubadour of disruption”. All in a day of work for me.

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Gone Fishing

Those of you who have followed the blog for a couple years know that each year I take a week to get completely off the grid, take my kids up to Northern Ontario and do my best to latch on to a large smallmouth bass, lake trout, and/or, northern pike.

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When Amazing Minds Come Together

Last week the core staff of OrgCode (Jeff and Tracy) along with the bench players (Mike, Erin, Zach, Kris, Amanda) all spent a couple days in the great city of Toronto figuring out what OrgCode needs to be working on next and how we need to get there. I am not going to get into specifics that will be answered in the coming weeks/moments too much, but allow me to hit some highlights to hopefully intrigue you.

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OrgCode – What’s Next?

If you have been paying attention in social media, you know that I have added onto the OrgCode team as of late. Jeff, Tracy and yours truly remain the core employees. We will still have one or more interns pretty much all the time. But on top of that, I am super grateful we have been able to get some top tier talent to devote some time to OrgCode. Let me tell you why.

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Designing an Amazing Emergency Shelter



If you are at the National Alliance to End Homelessness conference this week in DC you may have been in or heard about the session that Cynthia Nagendra and yours truly delivered on Designing an Amazing Emergency Shelter. Whether at the conference or not, I wanted you to get access to some generic policies and procedures that you can use in crafting your trauma-informed, housing-focused shelter. Note that these policies and procedures were first developed for a men’s shelter. You may have to adjust things like population group(s) to be served, access hours, meals, etc. But this should give you something to work off of to get you started in updating, revising or creating your shelter policies.


Follow the link here to download.

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