York University’s Stephen Gaetz, winner of the 2015 Connection Award, is an influential researcher whose foundational work on homelessness has shaped government policy and practice, both in Canada and internationally.
A professor of education, Gaetz leads the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), as well as the renowned Homeless Hub—the world’s first comprehensive and cross-disciplinary web-based clearinghouse of homelessness research. Together with COH team members Bill O’Grady (University of Guelph), Paula Goering (University of Toronto), Melanie Redman (Eva’s Initiatives) and Tim Richter (Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness), Gaetz has produced research used by municipal and provincial governments across the country to develop new models of homelessness prevention, accommodation and support.
Gaetz has brought homelessness research—and its key issues—to a broad audience of students, scholars and community leaders, as well as key decision-makers in government. Through his early adoption and strategic use of social media, he not only helped establish the field, but also inspired researchers across Canada to mobilize research knowledge so that it has a greater impact on homelessness policies and planning.