WEBINAR: Creating system change through the adoption of Housing First principles and programs

Continuing our international research webinar series in collaboration with Camh, we’re delighted to share the recording from our webinar: Creating system change through the adoption of Housing First principles and programs.”

During this session, Catherine McKenney, featured as the webinar’s discussant, alongside presentations from Melanie Schmit, Co-Founder of Housing First Nederland; James Mathy, Housing Administrator at Milwaukee County; Sam Tsemberis, Founder and Executive Director, Pathways to Housing, a Housing First program; and Samara Jones, Coordinator of the Housing First Europe Hub. The slides from the session are also available here.

Watch the recording:



Catherine McKenney (they/them) is a former City of Ottawa Councillor and 2022 mayoral candidate. While serving on Council, Catherine was the Council-appointed Liaison for Housing and Homelessness. They founded CitySHAPES, a non-profit, national organization that leads ground-breaking policy, advocacy and community engagement work on key challenges facing Canadian municipalities.


Melanie Schmit is the co-founder of Housing First Netherlands. Her organization aims to end and prevent homelessness through a mind shift, leading to a systems change across the Netherlands, based on Housing First through advocacy, training, research and support. Since 2014, Melanie has been involved locally, nationally, and internationally in the Housing First movement and the start-up of several practices for adults and youth in the country. Melanie knows the work inside out, as a support worker, as a manager, and as a pioneer in the implementation and development of Housing First in the Netherlands. In addition, she has worked as a coach and trainer. Over the years, she has been able to translate these experiences into what Housing First can bring and needs at different levels.

James Mathy is the Administrator of Milwaukee County Housing Services. James administers Milwaukee County’s various housing programs, including the Milwaukee County Housing Authority, Community Development Block Grant and HOME programs, homeless programs, and real estate development. James is also the author of Milwaukee County’s Plan to End Chronic Homelessness and has over 25 years of experience in housing and mental health. He holds a Master’s Degree in Public Service from Marquette University.

Sam Tsemberis developed the Pathways Housing First program. He leads the Pathways Housing First Institute, which provides consultation and implementation support to service organizations, and city, county and national governments. He also collaborates on program design, education, training, and research across the globe. Dr. Tsemberis is a community-clinical psychologist on the faculty of the UCLA Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences.

Samara Jones has worked on homelessness and social justice issues both in Europe and Canada. She is based in Brussels and is the Coordinator of the Housing First Europe Hub. The Housing First Europe Hub is a partnership of organisations, including the European Federation of Organisations working with Homeless People (FEANTSA) and Finland-based Y-Foundation, as well as over 20 housing providers, governments, cities, researchers and foundations from across Europe and beyond. The Housing First Europe Hub promotes systems change to end and prevent homelessness based on the principles of Housing First.

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