A cooperative and innovative hackathon event to address homelessness issues in Ottawa

Government of Canada helps to prevent and reduce homelessness in Canada

OTTAWA, Nov. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, joined developers, designers, communications specialists, subject matter experts, and general enthusiasts, today to launch the first Government of Canada hackathon to reduce homelessness. The event, "Partnering to Hack Homelessness (P2H²)", organized by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC), in partnership with DataFest Ottawa and the Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) Lab, aims to bring together key partners to develop innovative solutions to help vulnerable populations who are homeless or at risk of being homeless. 

The causes and consequences of homelessness are complex. The Government of Canada is committed to demonstrating leadership in finding innovative approaches to address social issues such as homelessness. This homelessness hackathon is a great example of what can be accomplished by working together and to build on our diversity and expertise to create innovative ideas to help prevent and reduce homelessness.

The event is taking place over the weekend of November 18-20, 2016, at the Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Lab, located in downtown Ottawa (235 Queen Street). On Friday evening, participants will be presented with problem statements from community organizations; teams will be formed and will get ready to work on solving issues over the weekend. On Sunday, the last day of the hackathon, teams will present their concept or prototype solution to a panel of experts. Ideas presented could lead to the development of a wide range of solutions from applicable technologies to conceptual designs.

Canadians can follow the activities of the Partnering to Hack Homelessness (P2H²) event in Ottawa by following ESDC (@SocDevSoc) on Twitter. You can also participate in the online conversation by using the hashtags #Homelessness #Hackathon and #MakeADifference. 


"Our government is committed to pioneering dynamic new approaches that will enable communities across Canada to work more effectively towards combatting homelessness. Who better to have onboard for this project than the local experts working together to develop innovative solutions to local problems. I commend the participants for dedicating their time and knowledge to the cause of homelessness."
– The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development

Associated Links

Homelessness Partnering Strategy
Partnering to Hack Homelessness (P2H²) November 18-19-20, 2016 Schedule
Partnering to Hack Homelessness Problem Pitch Page




A hackathon is an intense and creative event (usually 24-72 hours), during which a large number of participants are put into teams that build solutions related to a predetermined theme. Traditionally hackathons result in new apps, software programs, or products, but are increasingly expanding into service design, data visualization, or problem and solution scoping.

This hackathon event, "Partnering to Hack Homelessness", will last over the weekend of November 18-20, in which a large number of people and local organizations will meet to collaboratively "hack" i.e. address challenges that those who are homeless, or at risk of becoming homeless, face on a daily basis by coming up with innovative solutions or creative technology-based prototypes to problems that were predetermined by the community. 

Homelessness Partnering Strategy
The Homelessness Partnering Strategy is a unique community-based program aimed at preventing and reducing homelessness by providing direct support and funding to 61 designated communities in all provinces and territories, as well as to Indigenous, rural and remote communities across Canada, to help them address homelessness.

Through Budget 2016, the Government of Canada is investing an additional $111.8 million over two years in the Homelessness Partnering Strategy to provide communities the support they need to help prevent and reduce homelessness, including Housing First activities, better emergency response services, and supports for youth, women fleeing violence and veterans. More than $12.5 million of that new funding is being invested towards the Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream.

Since the launch of the Homelessness Partnering Strategy, nearly 35,000 Canadians who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless have benefitted from education and training opportunities; over 34,000 have received help to find work; more than 6,000 new shelter beds have been created; and the program has helped place over 82,000 people in more stable housing.

Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream
The Innovative Solutions to Homelessness funding stream is delivered nationally and supports the development of innovative approaches to reducing homelessness—particularly among Indigenous Canadians, youth, women fleeing violence and veterans.

Funding can be used to support activities in three key areas:

  • community-based innovative projects to reduce homelessness and/or the cost of homelessness;
  • building strategic partnerships with key stakeholders; and
  • testing and/or sharing tools, social metrics and research findings geared towards homelessness.


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SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada

For further information: Mathieu Filion, Director of Communications, Office of the Hon. Jean-Yves Duclos, P.C., M.P., Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, 819-654-5546; Media Relations Office, Employment and Social Development Canada, 819-994-5559, media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

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