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Lived Expertise in Homelessness Policy and Governance


Anna Kopec 1, and Alison Smith


Lived expertise (LE) is a valuable form of expertise that can lead to more effective policymaking. Existing research points to important mechanisms for where and how to include LE. It also offers lessons around the potential exclusionary effects such mechanisms may have. In this article, we bring the discussions together and ground them in the Canadian case of homelessness. Failures in
Canadian homelessness governance and policy highlight the utility of LE where it has been included, but we also find that its prevalence is unknown. Recent mechanisms including LE are still limited and their influence is questioned. We insist that the inclusion of LE cannot be haphazard or merely a nod to its value. Rather, it requires careful and considerate inclusion that centers LE throughout the policy process, encourages its influence and innovation, and embeds mechanisms for its long-term involvement within governance structures.

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