Peer Driven Work in Housing and Homelessness for Health Equity

A knowledge exchange forum on peer work in housing and homelessness took place on November 27, 2023. Strummed in by local musician, Dan Crow, led by the Peer Navigator Project with support from CRHESI, peer workers from multiple organizations, their co-workers and leaders, and researchers gathered at Innovation Works, in downtown London.

The afternoon was buzzing with shared insights about the unique value of peer work to support people accessing health and social services, passion to address challenges and a keen urgency to mobilize efforts to support the growth of peer work.

The following summarizies key issues raised by event participants with recommendations for action.

The Peer Navigator Project is a community-based research project that works alongside key community partners to engage Peer Navigators (PN) in Canada: London, Toronto, and Vancouver, and Kenya: Eldoret, Huruma, and Kitale. The goal of this study is to determine how well PNs meet the needs of street connected youth, particularly in facilitating access to HIV and AIDS prevention, testing, and treatment. The Peer Navigator Project (PNP) is funded by the Canadian Institute for Health Research. Please click the following weblink to read the full interim report:

Below is an introduction to peer work and the PNP with a focus on the London, ON site.

Creating an On-Going Community of Peer Workers

This event, Peer Driven Work in Housing and Homelessness for Health Equity, fostered meaningful discussions and shed light on the dedication of peer workers, and their leaders and colleagues in community.

Envisioning the future of peer work, participants called for ways to continue their connection, to continue to support each other and advocate for peer work.

Plans are in progress for a peer-led community of practice to begin in early 2024!

For more information please contact:
Abe Oudshoorn

Thanks to the event planning committee: Abe Oudshoorn, Amy Van Berkum, Arun Jentrick, Christine Garinger, Jenna Pogue, Kaitlyn Widdup, and Katie MacEntee.


Bringing communities together to promote health equity & inclusion through collaborative research for action.


CRHESI Student Collective Reflections from September 2023 – April 2024

June 12, 2024

“One of the things I learned from interviews was the power of words and how you communicate, and just showing that you care…”

Check out the infographic: Collecting Data for Equitable Change

Addressing Homelessness Stigma: Finding Ways to Help Individuals to Thrive Following Homelessness

May 17, 2024

Dr. Carrie Marshall stands at the forefront of a critical mission: supporting the well-being of individuals experiencing homelessness. With a deeply rooted passion for social justice and human rights, Carrie’s journey into this field began during her studies in Occupational Therapy, where she encountered a glaring gap in the support systems for those transitioning out of homelessness. Motivated by a desire to make a tangible difference, she embarked on a mission to understand and address the multifaceted challenges faced by this group of people.

Peer Driven Work

The following is a reflection by Kaitlyn Widdup, CRHESI Student Collective, Community-Engaged Learning Placement, Bachelor of Health Sciences student, Western University.

I had little knowledge of community-based research and peer support in regard to health and homelessness when I began my placement with CRHESI. I spent quite a bit of time researching peer supports, specifically how their lived experiences make them uniquely valuable to those experiencing homelessness.

I felt nervous about attending our first team planning meeting for this event, but my nerves immediately disappeared because the team members were very welcoming and supportive of my role as a CEL student. The peer work discussions were enriching and contributed to the creation of an amazing event with incredible and open conversations on some of the challenges, rewards, and barriers encountered in peer work.

December 20, 2023

Food Insecurity Affects Us All

This series on food insecurity aims to provide a snapshot and raise awareness about the state of food insecurity in London, focusing on both the stories of students at Western University and the experiences of our local London community.

  1. Debunking Myths
  2. Food Insecurity: A Hidden Issue on Campus
  3. A Conversation about Food Insecurity at Crouch Neighbourhood Resource Centre in London Ontario
  4. System Level Solutions Needed to Address Food Insecurity

This series was developed by Samantha Campanella and Hooria Haider, Western University, Health Sciences Students, Community Engaged Learning placement with CRHESI. Christine Garinger, CRHESI Coordinator, edited the series.

August 15, 2023

CRHESI Interview: Safe Drug Use Sites Hold the Potential for Transformation

In an effort to understand the human impacts of the Temporary Overdose Prevention Site (TOPS) on those who used the facility, a collaborative project was undertaken by researchers from CRHESI and the Middlesex London Health Unit (MLHU). Team members were former CRHESI Academic Director, Helene Berman, Michelle Sangster Bouck (MLHU), Abe Oudshoorn (Western), Melissa McCann (MLHU), Shamiram Zendo (Western), Jordan Banninga (MLHU), Marlene Janzen Le Ber (Brescia) and Zayya Zendo (Western).

March 16, 2023

Why we Need Trauma- and Violence-Informed Maternal and Child Health Services: New Research from Rwanda and Local Implications

Aimable Nkurunziza, Ph.D. Candidate (Nursing, Western University) and Berman Family Graduate Award Holder

February 22, 2023

EQUIPping London’s Health and Social Services for Equity

This 3-part series explores substance use stigma and the ways that health and social service providers can improve care. The series includes:

This series was developed by Samantha Campanella and Hooria Haider, Western University, Health Sciences Students, Community Engaged Learning placement with CRHESI.

December 15, 2022

Evolving a More Socially Conscious Medical School Curriculum

Photo by Pawel Czerwinski on Unsplash

by Hooria Haider, Western University, Community Engaged Learning student, Health Sciences, Honours Specialization in Health Sciences with Biology

December 8, 2022

Our Commitment to Confronting Anti-Black Racism

The Centre for Research on Health Equity and Social Inclusion (CRHESI) stands in solidarity with those who are speaking out and calling for the elimination of anti-Black racism in Canada and around the world. We recognize the deeply embedded racism that exists at all levels and across all sectors, in Canada, in Ontario, and in London.  We are firmly opposed to the rationalization, minimization, or denial of racism and its impacts on racialized groups and our society as a whole. 

June 26, 2020