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Canada is an internationally known country with the long reputation for high quality of life with the growing number of citizens competing for limited resources, hence; making homelessness a reality. The main populations making up the homeless people in Canada are women, youths, and children. Most homeless youths engage in some criminal activities such as drug addiction, illicit drug trafficking, robbery and unprotected sex. Stakeholders should work as a team to cut across research and policy sectors to create a solution that coordinates response to homelessness in Canada. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the role of teamwork in finding the solution to homelessness in Canada. The teamwork composed of stakeholders namely: the homeless people, all government agencies, and the community groups. The paper utilizes Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory that uses four stages of team development to analyze the effectiveness of identified stakeholders in addressing homelessness. The outcome reveals that designing affordable and quality housing in both rural and urban centers would be the best solution to homelessness in Canada.
Canada is one of the nations in the world with the highest number of homeless people. The state of homelessness in Canada started in the 1980s after the government’s reduced spending in social support, structural shifts in the economy, and investment in high-cost housing (Gaetz, Dej, Richter, Redman, 2016, p. 4). The main populations making up the homeless people in Canada are women, youths, and children. Homelessness has become a major crisis in Canada with thousands of women, youths and children across the country calling streets, parks, and emergency shelters their homes. The problem has since persisted calling for a joined action between stakeholders across the country to establish a solution to homelessness. The joint action requires teamwork and collaboration largely based on establishing strategies that would end the problem of homelessness in the coming five years. The following discussion utilizes Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory to find solutions to the problem of homelessness in Canada. The solution identified will utilize principles of teamwork and benefit different stakeholders. These stakeholders are the homeless people, different levels of government, and community groups.
Canada is an internationally known country with the long reputation for high quality of life with the growing number of citizens competing for limited resources, hence; making homelessness a reality. In the older days, only single men and older people suffered from the problem of homelessness in Canada, but the crisis has become more diverse today to include the women and young people. The 2016 government report on the state of homelessness in Canada revealed the exact number of homeless people, their demographics, and the exact experiences they face each day. The report shows that approximately 35,000 Canadians spend the night out in the cold each night and 235,000 Canadians are homeless every year. Also, 2016 report revealed that 27.3 percent and 18.7 percent of the homeless population in Canada are women and youth respectively. Older adults aged between 50 and 64 and those aged 65 and above are at greater risks of experiencing homelessness in the future (Gaetz, Dej, Richter, Redman, 2016, p. 5).
The government suffers the most from the homelessness. Homelessness worsens the state’s economy, increases insecurity, and creates a bad reputation for the nation such that international partners develop a negative attitude leading to poor trade and business relations. The interest of all levels of the government is to ensure no more people are homeless in the country. The government could make this possible by formulating policies and strategies capable of addressing the issues. For instance, the Canadian government developed the homelessness policy in 1999 through effective collaboration with communities and individuals aimed at addressing homelessness issues (Doberstein, 2011). Most homeless youths engage in some criminal activities such as drug addiction, illicit drug trafficking, robbery and unprotected sex. Stakeholders should work as a team to cut across research and policy sectors to create a solution that coordinates response to homelessness in Canada.
Many parties are actively and passively involved in addressing the problem of homelessness in Canada. A strategic approach to the issue requires the engagement of all stakeholders to take part in decision-making processes in looking for solutions to homelessness to ensure representation of every concerned party. The following paper concentrates on three key stakeholders that have a lot of influence in developing strategies and policies alternatives to homelessness. The key stakeholders included in the strategic planning are the homeless people, all levels of government (policymakers, Departments of Health, Housing and Urban Planning), and community groups (non-profit organizations, private developers, and other foundations). Each of the three stakeholders has a big role to play in finding the solution to the prevailing problem.
The homeless people are the key stakeholders and the victims of homelessness. The following group should have many interests including the need to know the plans other stakeholders, the government and community groups, have for them. Homeless people should select their representatives to take part in the decision-making process to ensure their interests are tabled and addressed. Also, the homeless play a significant role in the success of the plan because they bear the experience and stand a better chance of explaining to policy makers circumstances that led to them becoming homeless. Policy makers would use these details to create an intervention that would help prevent homelessness cases in the future.
Finally, the community groups including non-governmental organizations, humanity foundations, and developers have a great role to play in developing strategies to end homelessness. Community groups advocate for equality and rights for the people. These groups will aid in creating awareness to the government to speed up the process of generating solutions to homelessness. Also, groups such as private developers may offer to build simple and affordable housing through government contracts to house the homeless. The success of any initiative agreed by the three stakeholders requires a teamwork approach. The discussion will utilize principles and theories of teamwork to ensure all stakeholders interests are considered in the final solution.
Effective management of a team requires skills, dedication, strategies and plans. Researchers in different fields have conducted numerous studies to investigate factors that influence quality team performance. Many theories explain the formation and management of teams with Tuckman’s teamwork theory acting as the most widely known to have produced excellent results. Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory was developed in 1965 and plays a critical role in ensuring teamwork and team building. Tuckman used to work with a team of social psychologists in the United Stated Navy where he studied small group behaviors using different perspectives. In his analysis of various articles and books on team development, Tuckman identified two main features that contribute to the performance of a group: the task activity and the group structure/interpersonal activity. Tuckman then introduced the Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory that describes four primary stages of development that make up a good team. The four stages are forming, storming, norming, and performing (Egolf & Chester, 2013, pp. 142-143).
The four stages of Tuckman’s teamwork theory can be applied in the case to help bring together stakeholders and establish the solution to homelessness in Canada. The basic assumption of the theory is that a team that stays together over a time changes and develops (Nestor, 2013). Identifies stakeholders, the government, the community groups, and the homeless people have lived together to realize a common homelessness problem affecting the country.
According to Nestor (2013), Tuckman’s Teamwork Theory describes three elements that determine the performance of a team, namely: content, process, and feelings.
The content relates to activities of the team, which in this case are finding the solution to homelessness. Some members of the team will utilize the content element to define the stakeholder-based type of solution they want and how they want it done to meet their interests. Additionally, the storming stage may face some rebellion as each stakeholder tries to make their interests included in the decision-making process. In the norming stage, the stakeholders will have cleared their differences and each member desires to become part of the team. Finally, the performing stage is characterized by all members having a similar concern of looking for the solution to homelessness. According to Nestor (2013), the effectiveness of the team is felt in the performing stage. Team members should always take precautions to avoid disintegrating during the first three stages of teamwork development.
Process refers to the way the team works towards achieving its goals. The following case relates to the process of bringing together the stakeholders, the homeless people, the government, and community groups, into developing strategies and planning implementation plans for the problem of homelessness in Canada. In the forming stage, team members engage in searching for external forces that can give guidance and direction. For instance, the homeless people look for help from the government and community groups to help find better housing for them. Second, the storming stage involves members selecting tasks that fit their interests and ignoring those with less impact on their problems. The third stage on the process issue involves team members coming together to set procedures aimed at finding the solution to the problem. Finally, the team reaches the performing stage where they start implementing proposed solutions. Nestor (2013) claimed that teams that fail to accept the storming stage as a way of preparing them for future tasks never perform.
Application of four stages of the teamwork theory in the element of feelings
The feeling element refers to how teams relate with one another. A good relationship between stakeholders must exist for the teamwork to succeed. The most significant stage in the feelings elements is the performance level where team members share a common focus, have good communication and become closer to each other to achieve the expected result.
Following the five stages of Tuckman’s theory of Teamwork, it will be possible to have all stakeholders work together and find solutions that fulfill each stakeholder’s interests. The teamwork from selected stakeholders must have capabilities of solving problems faced by the homeless in Canada and implement strategies that will see the country do away with the problem of homelessness in the future. One of the proposed solutions to homelessness in Canada is building of affordable housing units. The three stakeholders, the homeless people, the government, and community groups would all agree that victims of homelessness lack proper and affordable housing units. In January 2015, four homeless people died in Toronto with the cause of death attributed to extreme cold and burning of a makeshift shack. Mayor John Tory responded to the incident by creating a plan to rent 90 motel rooms for all homeless people for the remaining part of winter to act as temporary shelters (Daro, 2015. The case above reveals that overcrowding homeless shelters and lack of affordable housing in Canada are the primary cause of homelessness.
The collaboration between stakeholder, especially between the government and community groups, should act in speed to create a plan for providing long-term and stable housing for the homeless in the future. The government of Canada came up with an initiative termed “Housing our Future” that aimed at solving the issue of homelessness between 2014 and 2024. The Canada’s population increases each year with the probability of the country recording double population growth by the year 2030 (The County of Simcoe, 2014). Some stakeholders including the County members, members of the Municipalities, Community, and Cities came up with a team to propagate the initiative towards the performing stage. Working together with various stakeholders would help establish cheap and affordable housing units to shelter the homelessness in Canada. The private sector played a critical role in the plan by offering services and workforce to help design and implement the project.
On the other hand, a similar plan for ending homelessness that focused on the housing strategy was started in the Calgary City of Canada. The plan established in 2008 aimed at making Canadians more self-reliance and independent. The government realized that it would have to deal with the problem of homelessness in the future, hence; came up with the plan. Individuals experiencing homelessness at that time was given a permanent housing and provided with government support. The key stakeholders that included the government, the community groups, and other interested parties worked as a team to coordinate all operations to support the plan (Calgary Homeless Foundation, 2015). The Calgary City homelessness plan is an example of a successful solution that ended up reducing the number of homeless people in Canada and making many independent of dating.
According to Gaetz, Dej, Richter, Redman (2014), the number of individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Canada is expected to grow should the government fail to take quick actions to end the problem. Homeless people should never be viewed as victims of social structures and not social misfits. Homeless people in Canada have for the last two decades undergone a lot of challenges including marginalization. The issue brings more problems especially considering the vulnerability of these people. Homelessness causes major health and social problems that affect the individual’s lifestyle. Guirguis-Younger, McNeil & Hwang (2014, pp. 28-29) argued homelessness in Canada, especially among youths, has increased tremendously requiring a systematic response. The working together of stakeholders using teamwork principles and dynamics will help end the problem of homelessness in Canada. The analysis of the issue came up with the solution to homelessness as having affordable housing units, especially in Cities. Making housing affordable will get rid of many families spending their nights in makeshift shelters out of streets and start enjoying a safer lifestyle.
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