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I graduated with my Masters in Public Policy not long ago. Among the most basic tenets of making good policy – making any good kind of decision, really – is asking the people who that policy will affect for their thoughts and contributions. There are lots of ways our sector talks about this – meaningful involvement, public consultations, community forums, roundtable discussions, client or peer-led initiatives – all of which are undertaken to consult and include people who are affected by the policies, projects and decisions in question.
Six years ago, when Calgary’s 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness was launched in January 2008, I sat in a room with a few hundred other Calgarians and listened to the details and wondered, “Who are they kidding?” They’ll never end it. Not unless, of course, they end addictions and family violence and divorce and loss and child abuse and a whole host of ills that plague our society and contribute to homelessness in the first place.
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Written by: Amanda St. Laurent, Program Manager, Community Development, CUPS