Demonstration Projects (DEMS) are an integral part of the Making the Shift research to impact cycle. Funded by the Government of Canada’s Youth Employment and Skills Strategy, the demonstration projects identify, develop, test, evaluate, and mobilize innovations in policy and practice that support the prevention and facilitation of sustainable exits from homelessness.
What are demonstration projects?
Demonstration projects blend experimental program delivery with research and evaluation. Employing design thinking, our demonstration projects are intended to expand our knowledge and understanding of innovative approaches to preventing and ending youth homelessness by identifying, developing, prototyping, testing, evaluating, and mobilizing innovations in policy and practice through the implementation of comprehensive demonstration projects.
All demonstration projects involve robust program model and service design, as well as robust research and evaluation (process and outcomes). They allow for key lessons to come forward by answering questions such as: are the needs of the target demographic being adequately met? What program adaptations might be needed? What can others learn from this intervention? Answers to these questions provide practitioners and researchers critical data about their theories and practice.
Through the MtS Demonstration Projects, we have implemented various prevention programs in community settings and are conducting qualitative and quantitative data analysis. Each community site has a specific focus, and three sites have dedicated research and evaluation teams that collect feedback from program participants and staff. The national team closely monitors and guides the research and evaluation work being done at the community sites.
To date, we have focused on four distinct program models, each representing a form of prevention as defined in the The Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness, including early intervention, housing stability, and sustained exists from homelessness (Gaetz et al., 2018):
There are currently 15 projects in 12 communities in Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Ontario that are taking part.