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Canadian Sport and Events Calendar


Webinar on Encampments for People Experiencing Homelessness



Event Date(s) : June 1, 2021
12:00 PM to 1:15 PM

Organization :
Contact Person : Canadian Parks and Recreation Association (CPRA)

In the wake of COVID-19, communities across Canada have seen increases in homeless encampments in parks or outdoor locations as services shut down, the housing crisis deepens, and people who lack housing struggle to meet their basic needs.   
People living in encampments face profound challenges with respect to their health, security, and wellbeing, and there is often community resistance to encampments and encampment residents. As city agencies face pressures to deal with these issues, people living in encampments may be further isolated and subject to eviction from their only home and in peril of losing their only known possessions.  

This webinar will explore the current challenges cities face with respect to encampments, considering the complex intersections of the housing crisis, governance of public space, access to parks, and municipal strategies for supporting those who lack housing. Please join us as we share real-life examples of how two large municipalities – one in Canada and one in the US – are navigating this complex issue, as well as the perspectives of lived experts about why people reside in encampments and the challenges they experience. The information will provide learning for communities of all sizes and seeks to enrich your work in this area. 

Our speakers:

Kaitlin Schwan, Ph.D., is Director of Research at The Shift and Senior Researcher at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. She is appointed Assistant Professor, Status Only, at the University of Toronto. Kaitlin’s research focuses on homelessness prevention and the human right to housing, particularly for women and youth. She is the former Lead Researcher for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Adequate Housing, with whom she co-wrote A National Protocol for Homeless Encampments in Canada: A Human Rights Approach (2020). Kaitlin also Co-Chairs the Women’s National Housing and Homelessness Network, where her work focuses on leveraging lived experience voices and research to drive policy change on women’s homelessness.

Donnie Rosa (she/they) is the GM of the Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation. As a leader in this urban setting, Donnie draws on their experience working in shelters, the mental health field in Toronto and over 25 years working in parks and recreation. Currently, Donnie is President-Elect of the BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) and on the Board of CPRA. Donnie attempts to bring a compassionate approach to encampments, working collaboratively with partners and the community to bring folks experiencing homelessness inside and provide access to green spaces for all. Donnie brings their ‘partner experience’ to this conversation and in no way claims to be an expert on homelessness or housing; rather is a community developer with a municipal recreation lens. 

Anthony-Paul (AP) Diaz is the Executive Officer for the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks. He has over 23 years of professional experience and service to the City of Los Angeles. Prior to assuming his current role, AP served as General Counsel for Recreation and Parks, helping guide the Department on many high-profile and important endeavours, most notably the transformation, restoration and management model for the historic and iconic Greek Theatre. He also served as a City Attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office and worked in the City’s Neighborhood Prosecutor Program working on non-traditional methods to reduce community crime and later served as one of the principal City Attorneys assigned to advise and staff the Los Angeles City Council. AP is as an instructor at the LAPD and LAFD Leadership Academies teaching Adult Development Theory and Transformational Leadership; is a faculty member for the NRPA’s Directors School; Chair of the NRPA’s Parks & Recreation Magazine Editorial Advisory Board and an Executive Board Member for World Urban Parks and is a Judge Pro Tem for the Los Angeles Superior Court.

Our panel:

Jayne Malenfant (they/she) is from Kapuskasing, Ontario and is a Vanier and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Scholar, and PhD Candidate at McGill University’s Faculty of Education. She is the co-founder of the Making the Shift Scholars with Lived Experience Network and works on issues of institutional access for individuals navigating homelessness and housing precarity, with a focus on lived experience and community-led housing solutions.

Caroline Leblanc (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Science at Université de Sherbrooke.