Lived Experts Weigh In: Plan to End Chronic Homelessness

Announcement: Lived Expertise Prototyping Report Now AvailableThe Lived Expertise Prototyping process was started in 2023 so that staff and Council at the Region of Waterloo could learn and benefit directly from the insights and knowledge of those with lived or living experience of homelessness and housing instability.

It has been an honour for the Social Development Centre to facilitate this ongoing process, and today we are pleased to share the final report outlining the recommendations made by the Lived Expertise prototyping cohort for addressing homelessness in Waterloo Region.

Read the full report | Read report highlights


The Plan to End Chronic Homelessness received overwhelming support when put to a vote by Regional Council at a Community Health Services Committee Meeting on April 9, 2024! Councillors voted to endorse The Plan following a nearly 6-hour meeting where multiple community advocates, concerned citizens, and nonprofit agency leaders delegated to share their perspectives with Council. To all of you who added your voice to the conversation - thank you! You can check out SDC's delegation by clicking on the video below. You can also view a recording of the full meeting here.

Screenshot of SDC delegation at ROW PECH Meeting Apr 9, 2024


Background & Purpose

Lived Expertise Prototyping is an ongoing initiative aimed at incorporating the knowledge and insights of those with lived experience into the operations of the Waterloo Region. The purpose of this report is to outline the theory of change and recommendations developed by the prototyping cohort for the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. While informing the comprehensive Plan to End Chronic Homelessness, authored by Overlap and its core team, this report also serves as a standalone document. It ensures that the community has direct access to the insights generated by the cohort. 

Lived Expertise Prototyping Goal March 2024

Research Design

Conceptual Framework with various "buckets" identified by Lived Expertise Prototyping Cohort (2023)The Lived Expertise Prototyping project represents a dynamic partnership, evolving from consultations to integrating the real-world experiences of individuals and communities affected by homelessness into pilot projects. This integration aids in crafting solutions to eradicate chronic homelessness in our community.

The group’s research utilized the U-Lab Process, based on the methods developed by Otto Scharmer and colleagues at the Presencing Institute.

The process was split into two distinct phases:

Phase 1: Co-Initiation, Co-Sensing, and Co-Presencing (March – July 2023)
Phase 2: Co-Creation and Evolution (August 2023 – March 2024)

Lived Expertise Prototyping Cohort Report Highlight

Rationale for Calls to Action

The Lived Expertise Prototyping cohort, through an iterative and emergent process, has resulted in 30 calls to action for the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and its subsequent implementation. We have organized these recommendations into six focus areas, each accompanied by supporting rationale drawn from document reviews and consultation.

Read the Calls to Action and Full Report

How You Can Help

You can help ensure that compassion, dignity, and the insights of lived experts take centre stage as Regional Council makes their final decision on the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. Here are a couple of ways you can add to the conversation:

Photos from Lived Expertise Prototyping Meeting Mar 27, 2024


The Lived Expertise Prototyping Cohort: Char Lee, Charles Nichols, David Alton, Donald Lacasse, Hadembes Yebetit, Heather Majaury, Jaime Stief, Julian Ichim, Kathy Kibble, Kevin White, Lesley Crompton, Mauleek Bhatt, Milo Hansen, Rebekah Haynes, Regan Brussé, Udanapher Green, & wren wombwell.

This Report benefited from the contributions of Dr. Laura Pin and Dr. Brian Doucet, as well as input, consultation, and discussions with representatives from Sanguen Health Centre, Waterloo Region Community Legal Services, Ray of Hope, Community Justice Initiatives, KW Urban Native Wigwam, and the Region of Waterloo.