A Systems Approach to Homelessness

A “system of care is a strengths-based, culturally relevant, participatory framework for working with individuals with complex needs. A system of care approach utilizes inter-agency collaboration, individualized programming and community-based service provision. This approach is traditionally used with children and youth who have considerable physical, mental, social, emotional, educational and developmental needs. It can also be adapted for adult populations including the homeless population. 

In the homelessness sector, a system of care is a method at the community (or provincial/territorial or national level) of delivering services differently to help people who are homeless, or at-risk of homelessness. “As a method of organizing and delivering services, housing, and programs, it aims to coordinate resources to ensure community level results align with 10 Year Plan goals and meet client needs effectively” (Calgary Homeless Foundation, 2014, p. 2).