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Meet the keynote speakers


All Our Relations: An Indigenous Perspective of Homelessness in Winnipeg, Canada

Our discussion draws from local knowledge of Indigenous homelessness in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. We draw from our experience with the At Home Chez Soi project and the history of settler/western influences and their policies and programs (which include Housing First) that have too often been imposed on the community with little or no consultation. In contrast, we also discuss the rise of End Homelessness Winnipeg (EHW), an Indigenous Organization, mandated by the community to end homelessness in Winnipeg from a Collective Impact Model that is guided by the principles found in the Truth and Reconciliation report and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People.

Lucille Bruce

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

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

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.

Housing First in Finland

Saija will talk about the special characteristics of the Finnish Housing First model. The presentation will look into the development of the model, key achievements and lessons learnt.


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.

The Future of Housing First

While Housing First has clearly been established as an evidence-based practice that ends homelessness and promotes quality of life, less is know about its impacts on other life domains or why it is more widely disseminated in some countries than in others.  This presentation focuses on the future of Housing First and ways we can improve its impact and dissemination. 


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.