Ultimately, MtS efforts will contribute to a significant reduction in youth homelessness and its associated socio-economic costs. By generating solutions to such an important problem, MtS will enable better outcomes for youth, including housing stability, enhanced health, well-being, and inclusion, engagement with school and employment, and successful transitions to adulthood.

Making the Shift is measuring its impact on youth homelessness with the following long-term outcomes:

  • There is widespread adoption of interventions focusing on prevention and housing stabilization – the ability of youth to remain housed.

  • Our data and evidence-driven strategies will result in a measurable reduction in the number of young people experiencing homelessness, reducing costs.

  • All orders of government in Canada will have adopted and supported (through policy and funding) a shift to prevention of homelessness.

  • Through supporting community planning as well as through training and technical assistance, we will see an increase in community-level cross systems partnerships, coordinated systems of care.

  • Mainstream public institutions and systems such as child protection, the education system, health care and the criminal justice system will more actively engage in strategies and practices (supported by policy and funding) that reduce the risk that young people experience homelessness.

  • A more equitable society is achieved through enabling marginalized youth (including Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, and racial minority youth) the opportunity to achieve their full potential.
  • Canada becomes the global leader in preventing & ending youth homelessness through international collaboration and sharing of knowledge created by MtS.

Evaluating Our Impact

Determining and measuring impact is inherently challenging. How does one know that change has happened as a result of research? Understanding research impact is a growing area of scholarship, which helps us not only understand if change has happened, but how it happens. In doing so we need to think about the difference between attribution and contribution. Attribution suggests that we can demonstrate that a change has occurred as a direct result of research. The trouble is that in the real world, there are many factors that may have contributed to a change happening of which research is but one. In such a case we refer to the contribution of research to impact, rather than the attribution.

As part of our work, we are conducting an evaluation of the impact of our work to identify if change has really happened. Additionally this program of research will contribute to the continuous quality improvement of our work through enabling us to better understand how to more effectively mobilize knowledge. Doing this kind of research well requires a mixed methods approach, involving quantitative and qualitative measures, and specific methods such as case studies. Understanding impact requires long term research, as we know from implementation science that it can be 2-4 years after the research has been completed before it is taken up and applied in new contexts.