The Book on Ending Homelessness

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Three years in the writing and over twenty years in the making, The Book on Ending Homelessness is now available here.

I have collected almost everything I have learned about ending homelessness over more than two decades of being immersed in the work from different angles – practitioner, funder, policy developer, researcher, consultant – and put it in one place. It was my intention to ensure there is something for everyone in the book, including frontline practitioners in the homelessness services sector, elected officials, and the general public.

I wrote the book for several reasons. After delivering a keynote address I would frequently get asked if I had a book. When providing policy advice to elected officials or senior public servants, I would often get asked if I had a book. Certain blog posts also resonate with people, and it had been suggested I take ideas from various blog posts and put them into a book. Finally, I wrote the book to take the pulse of my own knowledge on the subject of ending homelessness, and to evaluate what holes in information and practice I possess and take stock of that which I knew to be true and effective.

I have organized the book into six parts: 

  1. Homelessness – What It Is and What It Isn't
  2. Service Orientation
  3. Emergency Services: Shelters, Outreach and Day Services
  4. Supporting People that Have Been Homeless in Housing
  5. Getting the Money and Policy Parts Right to Make Success Possible
  6. Where We Go from Here

The Book on Ending Homelessness offers a range of solutions which I hope will stimulate discussion and encourage action-oriented dialogue on how to effectively respond to the crisis of homelessness. I want this book to help generate even more creative solutions to the ones that I propose. I don't claim to have all the answers or the only answers. Rather, I have endeavored to offer workable strategies, insights and approaches derived from my experience working with hundreds of communities throughout the United States, Canada, and Australia. I have drawn heavily from service providers and communities that have made reductions in homelessness and practiced and funded services in particular ways that have contributed to that result.

Homelessness is one of the most complex social issues of our time. The Book on Ending Homelessness leans into the complexity rather than shying away from it. The book does so in ways that are pragmatic rather than theoretical, firmly entrenched in the day to day realities of responding to homelessness and trying to ensure it is rare, brief and non-recurring.

I will have accomplished my objective with The Book on Ending Homelessness if it results in advancing the work of everyone involved in homelessness. The book, I hope, helps move the needle forward in ending homelessness. I appreciate, as I state at the beginning of the book, that ending homelessness is a bold, whacky, and somewhat preposterous idea to some, while being an entirely possible scenario for others. Perhaps the book can help convert some who think it is impossible to at least giving the idea a solid "maybe" moving forward, and at the same time, provide encouragement to those that already believe to keep going.

I am deeply indebted to the people that have taught me so much in this journey of working to end homelessness. Those partnerships and relationships over the years have made this book possible. Nonetheless, there is still more to learn. There is lots more to do. The work continues. I'd like to think the Book on Ending Homelessness will make the work a tad easier for those that practice in this field and those impacted by homelessness daily. Lastly, it is my hope that the book will help decrease and end homelessness one person, one family at a time.

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About Iain De Jong

Leader. Edutainer. Coach. Consultant. Professor. Researcher. Blogger. Do-gooder. Potty mouth. Positive disruptor. Relentless advocate for social justice. Comedian. Dad. Minimalist. Recovering musician. Canadian citizen. International jetsetter. Living life in jeans and a t-shirt. Trying really hard to end homelessness in developed countries around the world, expand harm reduction practices, make housing happen, and reform the justice system. Driven by change, fuelled by passion. Winner of a shit ton of prestigious awards, none of which matter unless change happens in how we think about vulnerability, marginality, and inclusion.