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Community Builders Research Features
Sociological Modeling of Emergence
A Case Study of Homelessness and Best Practices in Single Room Accommodation in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, Canada

Prepared for the BC/Yukon Regional Homelessness Research Committee National Housing Initiative (NHI): Supporting Communities Partnership (SCPI)
by Mark Alexiuk, Julie Raphael, Catherine Wiebe, Gordon Wiebe

Banker to the Poor

Homelessness in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (DTES) is a complex social problem that has been exacerbated in the last four decades by an influx of persons with mental health issues and drug traffickers that have exploited the psychological vulnerabilities of the community’s most at risk residents. The existence of over 100 single room occupancy rooming houses and hotels (SROs) in the DTES have the potential to ameliorate homelessness because of a unique supply of low cost transitional beds in close proximity to community services. However, in many instances “for profit” and “deregulated” SROs accelerate homelessness by the exploitation of tenants through the behaviour of unscrupulous SRO owners and managers. In the worst cases this exploitation involves the establishment of a sex trade business in the SRO and a co-dependent drug trafficking ring that props up the illicit enterprise.

This research report utilizes emergence-based research tools to determine if an increase in intimacy in an open sociological system is decreasing risks of homelessness and increasing wellness for tenants in two market SROs in the DTES. The two rooming houses feature best practices (i.e., safe, clean, affordable and supportive housing) and a relationally-based staff of indigenous and intentional personnel that are sensitive to the principles and practices of emergence.

To facilitate this initiative a survey was conducted with 140 residents of the DTES that have been exposed to best practices, for profit housing, deregulated housing and absolute homelessness. A linear analysis of the survey results revealed that length of stay in a best practice market SRO reduces the probability of homelessness for hard to house and not housing ready tenants in a twelve month period by more than 90%. In addition, the research determined that the “usage rate” of sex trade linkages, substance abuse and untreated mental illness days was reduced by 40-60% for tenants that were exposed to best practices in an SRO for a minimum of ten weeks.

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  Doing Well by Doing Good: Analysis of the Business Case for Private Sector Engagement in Homelessness
The purpose of this project was to identify and document the economic rationale for private sector organizations to become engaged in the prevention and reduction of homelessness. The Homelessness Partnering (HP) Secretariat has sought to identify and describe examples where there is a “business case” for private businesses to engage in activities connected to homelessness, its prevention, or to employ homeless or near"homeless persons.
Read the full article here.
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The Hotel Study: Multimorbidity in a Community Sample
Living in Marginal Housing
Dr Bill MacEwanDr. Bill MacEwan is a long time friend of Community Builders and has been an enormous help offering in-house service to the tenants of our rooming houses. He is a co-author in this article that discusses the health of people living in marginal housing particularly from the perspective of multimorbid illness. The authors investigated this population in a community sample.. Read the article here.
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W.D. Hamilton's evolutionary theory driving world-changing research
William Donald Hamiltonís name may not be as widely recognized as Charles Darwinís, but Hamilton's work in evolutionary biology has managed to explain natureís oddities in a way that Darwin couldnít.
Read the article here.
  RedFish.com
  Red FishRedfishGroup is a loosely-coupled organization of complexity researchers, software developers and business professionals applying the emerging science of Complex Adaptive Systems to difficult problems in business and government. Visit their site to read research articles like "Emergence of constraint in self-organizing systems" and "Steps toward a possible theory of organization"or discover emergence through their unique applications.
 

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  Emergent models of wellness: a case study of management practices in single resident occupant hotels of Vancouver CA
By Mark Alexiuk, Nicolino Pizzi & Gordon Wiebe

Emergence is the phenomenon of collective intelligence exhibited by a population of independent agents (the swarm). The theory of emergence has become a useful framework for exploring salient features of dynamical systems. This framework provides insight into hitherto intractable problems in sociology and economics. One such problem is the definition of a mathematical model of homelessness that enables policy evaluation with respect to the holistic wellness of the impacted individuals. Swarm simulations provide numerical and visual results to the researcher allowing both quantitative and intuitive hypothesis testing. This paper defines a basic swarm model of homelessness, details some initial experiments and provides justification for a dynamical systems model. A description of a survey taken in an area of Vancouver with high rates of homelessness is also provided
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