Policy & Research Associate—Homeless Count Methodology

Posted 29-11-2018
Category Virtual
Interns Needed 1
Anticipated Timeline We would like the final paper to be finalized by late May/early June. The total time commitment is 50 hours as a whole. We are very flexible on the timeline here and are open to coordinating this with you as with what would best suit your schedule.
Organization Sign in to view
Contact Name Sign in to view
Contact Phone Sign in to view
Contact Email Sign in to view

Description:

This position is primarily concerned with investigating Point in Time (PiT) Counts of sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons. As ECOHH, we are deeply troubled by the recent record setting numbers of persons dying as a result of their experience of homelessness—especially as this trend seems to be in direct tension with the findings of the recent PiT counts. The successful candidate would generate a report reviewing and evaluating background literature, methodology, type and quality of data generated, and the use of PiT counts especially by our policy decisionmakers and within the broader understanding of the expanse of housing and homeless issues.

Skills & Experience:

  • Familiarity and/or expertise with social policy and research is required.
  • A general understanding of the context and brief history of housing and homelessness issues locally (in Edmonton) as well as nationally is highly recommended. Knowledge of the provincial but especially the federal role the current context an asset—including a general understanding of housing/homelessness policy in Canada
  • Familiarity with quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods and methodologies. An ability to assess and evaluate data quality.
  • Experience with critically analyzing “common sense” or “taken for granted” ideas and knowledge generation—able to think outside the box methodologically . 
  • Expertise in writing policy and/or research papers.
  • Strong writing and communications skills. Able to articulate complicated processes, transmit ideas succinctly, and articulate thoughts accessibly for the reader.
  • Creativity, thoughtfulness, and an ability to solicit ideas regarding how to understand and articulate the phenomenon of homelessness
  • An understanding of necessary considerations regarding the diversity of individuals and households experiencing homelessness when doing research a strength. Knowledge of GBA+ (https://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/gba-acs/course-cours-en.html) and/or using an intersectional lens when doing social research is imperative. Awareness of housing and homelessness issues is preferred, but some knowledge of social determinants of health and social inequity is essential.
  • Able to work independently primarily, with some collaboration.

Proposed Project:

  • creating and completing a public report for ECOHH identifying (project draft):
    a) what is the overarching issue underlying ‘counting the homeless’? How do we currently understand the severity of this issue? What are the current gaps in our knowledge of homelessness in Edmonton, and what has been missing in our understandings of this?
    b) Where do PiT counts come from, how do we use them, and why do we use them? How can we assess the last several PiT counts? How can this data be interpreted? How can we evaluate PiT counts in terms of data quality? What are the overarching trends/what is learned? What knowledge, if any, is still missing? How can the trends identified by PiT counts compare or be contextualized by 2006 & 2016 Census data?
    c) Data alternatives or supplements: what are other communities/countries/jurisdictions doing to identify the extent of homelessness, tracking the trends here, and identifying needs/demands that could mitigate this experience? Are there any other locales that are doing better in generating good data that examines the key issues underlying homelessness? How is this done, how often, and how is the data used? Amongst these data alternatives are there still gaps?
    d) Within Edmonton, what data alternatives to PiT counts exist or could be used/developed? Or could PiT counts be valuable if triangulated with other forms of data?   

Location:

When in-person meetings are required, ECOHH typically meets at Communitas (12120 106 AVENUE NW). 

Ideal for someone with course work in:

  • Social Work
  • Disability Studies
  • Science
  • Community Health Promotion
  • General Studies
  • Professional Writing
  • Project Management
  • Arts
  • Health Sciences
  • Nursing

Some specialized skills required:

  • Able to work independently primarily, with some collaboration.
  • Expertise in writing policy and/or research papers.
  • Familiarity with quantitative and qualitative data analysis methods and methodologies. An ability to assess and evaluate data quality.
  • Familiarity and/or expertise with social policy and research is required.
  • See "Full Description" for specific specialized skills

What we will accomplish at the end of the Internship:

  • Taking the lead, with guidance primarily from the policy and communications committee members, on creating and completing a public report for ECOHH. A draft of a potential project is included under "Full Description".
  • Attending and participating in policy and communications committee meetings and general member meetings where possible, in addition to electronic correspondence.
  • Disseminate your findings with the support of the policy and communications team, either through a blog post/policy brief for our website, and/or a short presentation to ECOHH members.