Our Work:
Housing and Homelessness

Mobilizing and advocating for effective housing solutions.

CDF_Housing Icon_Pink

Mobilizing, engaging and advocating for effective housing solutions

Each day in Canada, some 35,000 people experience some form of homelessness and another 1.5 million pay more than they can afford for housing. The shelter crisis has spread to rural and remote communities and youth, women and families are all much more likely to experience homelessness than in the past. Indigenous people are ten times more likely than non-Indigenous to make use of emergency services.


Homelessness is so visible in our communities it feels like it will always be with us, but today’s tragic situation was preventable and lay in decades of government cuts to investments in affordable housing and mental health services.


Despite the current outlook, we can end homelessness and provide safe, secure housing for everyone residing in Canada. In fact, many of the solutions are beginning to be implemented. Most importantly, we need to immediately make available permanent housing with adequate supports to those experiencing homelessness and retain and expand our supply of affordable housing. The Foundation is proud to work with our partners toward both those goals.


July 12, 2024


"The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is more than just a funder. CDF is a strategic partner, working alongside us to create systems change. We wouldn't be where we are today without their support."

Melanie Redman

President & CEO, A Way Home

Housing at a glance


By Spring 2024, our Housing funding stream will have provided more than 220 grants.


These grants total over $8.7 million.

A woman cooking in the kitchen with a toddler sitting o n the counter smiling

Objectives and approach

Our Funding Objectives

Housing initiatives prioritize the prevention and elimination of homelessness as well as the provision of safe and affordable housing. We advocate a shift from an emergency-response model to a rights-based approach that removes systemic barriers preventing marginalized and low-income populations from accessing housing.

Our Approach

The Foundation supports projects that advance public policy development in the housing sector; educate the public and animate action toward sustainable solutions to Canada’s homelessness and affordable housing crisis; and strengthen networks and collective strategies among non-profit housing groups and organizations.

The Catherine Donnelly Foundation is particularly drawn to projects that involve partnerships across organizational and sector lines (non-profit, public and private) and that value collaboration in pursuit of collective impact and sustainable change in the housing sector.

In our most recent funding cycle, Fredericton, NB’s Partners for Youth received a grant to address the service gap related to ongoing mentorship and support for youth who seek mental health treatment, while Logifem in Montreal, QC was supported in their work to shift from an emergency-only response for women who experience housing instability to a sustainable approach.

In Vancouver, Shareholder Association for Research and Education (SHARE) in partnership with Columbia Institute, received funding to help actors in the financial system address practices driving housing unaffordability. Investors for Affordable Cities will encourage institutional investors to implement responsible real estate strategies and enlist policy makers to stop predatory behaviors and promote housing investment that support inclusive communities.

Our housing initiatives

A Way Home: Joining together to pursue social change objectives

A Way Home is a national coalition committed to ending youth homelessness through transformative solutions in policy, planning and practice. In 2012, the Catherine Donnelly Foundation began to prioritize youth homelessness in our funding and provided seed funding for the Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness program. Three years later, A Way Home emerged as a stand-alone entity.

CDF co-led the funders’ table that helped launch A Way Home and followed up with a five-year commitment of $1.25 million. The Foundation applauds A Way Home’s embrace of collective impact, an approach that involves groups from different sectors working together toward common goals.


The efforts of the Catherine Donnelly Foundation are intended to promote joint action and networking by enabling key institutional actors to combine their efforts, to build on one another’s strengths, constituencies and common experiences in pursuit of social change objectives.


A Way Home is an active collaboration between a range of national partners, all of whom bring expertise, resources, national profile and members to support the work of A Way Home.


A myriad of tools and resources are available for communities across Canada to plan their own responses to youth homelessness.


Coalition partners, including Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, Canadian Housing & Renewal Association and Raising the Roof, have released important research papers and policy recommendations to shift the debate from ‘managing’ the problem through emergency services to a proactive, rights-based approach, focusing on prevention and helping those who are homeless move rapidly into housing with supports.


We can prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness in Canada.


For more information on A Way Home please visit www.awayhome.ca Link opens a new window

Stay up to date

Stay up to date with CDF and our network of changemakers by signing up to receive our newsletter and occasional press releases.

* indicates required