Meet the keynote speakers

Lucille Bruce

Dr. Jino Distasio

Betty Edel

Lucille Bruce is the Chief Operating Officer of End Homelessness Winnipeg, Canada. Lucille is a Metis Women who has worked in various leadership roles in Winnipeg, addressing the needs of Urban Indigenous Women and children who were at -risk of homelessness for over 3 decades. Most of Lucille’s work experience, including her current position, has been focused on establishing and building a continuum of culturally-relevant services and supports for Indigenous Women, Children and peoples in Winnipeg. Lucille is also recognized for her work as the Indigenous Co-Site Coordinator for the AH/CS  National Research Demonstration Project in Winnipeg by the Mental Health Commission of Canada. Lucille provided leadership in the  coordination and  successful delivery and implementation of the 3 Housing First Programs in Winnipeg.  

Dr. Jino Distasio joined the University of Winnipeg, Canada in 1999 and is currently the Vice President, Research and Innovation. Over the past 15 years he has served as the Director of the Institute of Urban Studies; a faculty member in the department of Geography. For well over a decade, Jino has worked extensively in Winnipeg’s inner city as well as exploring broader Canadian and global urban issues. During this period he has been actively engaged in over 175 projects, publications and community initiatives. Dr. Distasio coordinated a study of homelessness and mental health in Canadian cities. This work was part of a $110 million dollar project funded by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and the largest such project ever undertaken globally. He has also led numerous multi-city projects that have examined housing markets dynamics, homelessness, poverty as well as developing of a national index of neighbourhood distress in Canadian cities. He continues to teach and holds three adjunct appointments at the University of Manitoba where he actively serves on numerous doctoral and masters level committees.

Betty Edel is the Manager, Housing Supports at End Homelessness Winnipeg, Canada. Betty is a Métis woman who has worked on social justice issues in the Inner city of Winnipeg for over 35 years, including education, health care, housing, homelessness. Betty has also trained for Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness (CAEH) nationally on Housing First from an Indigenous perspective.

Dr. Saija Turunen

Dr. Saija Turunen is research manager at Y-Foundation, Finland where she has worked since 2017. Saija studied and worked in the field of social research in the UK where she founded and ran her own research consultancy as well as taught research methods at the University of Bangor, North Wales after receiving her Ph.D. from there in 2001. Currently Saija co-leads the research work cluster of the Housing First Europe Hub and her research interests include impact assessment, women’s homelessness as well as subjective well-being.

Dr. Sam Tsemberis

Dr. Sam Tsemberis is the founder of the Pathways Housing First model. He serves as President of the Pathways Housing First Institute and is also the Executive Director of the VA-UCLA Center of Excellence for Training and Research at the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. He is internationally renowned for his Housing First research and practice. He received the award for the Award for Distinguished Professional Contributions to Independent Practice from the American Psychological Association in 2016. Pathways Housing First has been implemented across the United States, Canada, many European Union countries, Australia, and New Zealand.