Homeless Health Guidelines

 homeless health


Kevin Pottie (NPI), Claire Kendall, Gary Bloch, Vivian Welch, Vicky Stergiopoulos, Ann Anderman, Peter Tugwell and colleagues received funding from the Inner City Health Associates, Employment and Social Development Canada, Canadian Medical Association, Public Health Agency of Canada to develop Canadian evidence based guidelines to improve health of homeless and vulnerably housed persons.

Who are we?

We have established an evidence-based Homeless Health Research Network (HHRN) in collaboration with researchers, clinical and public health practitioners, people with lived experience of homelessness, medical and public health students, and social and health policy makers. We have developed a homeless health guidelines for Canada. Homeless health guidelines are a set of evidence-based recommendations on how to best address the needs of homeless and vulnerably housed populations in Canada.


  • Guideline: Pottie, K., Kendall, C. E., Aubry, T., Magwood, O., Andermann, A., Salvalaggio, G., et al. (2020). Clinical guideline for homeless and vulnerably housed people, and people with lived homelessness experience. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal, 192(10), E240. https://doi.org/10.1503/cmaj.190777
  • H.O.U.S.E. MNEMONIC: Mathies N*, Saad A*, Magwood O, Lee A, Tugwell P, Pottie K on behalf of the Homeless Health Research Network. The Fifth Vital Sign: ‘H.O.U.S.E,’ a practical medical mnemonic that puts ‘housing-first’ and includes social determinants of health for current and post-COVID-19 Emergency and Primary Health Care. Cochrane Equity Methods. January 26, 2021. Available here.
  • Family Medicine: Andermann, A., Bloch, G., Goel, R., Brcic, V., Salvalaggio, G., Twan, S., ... & Pottie, K. (2020). Caring for patients with lived experience of homelessness. Canadian Family Physician, 66(8), 563-570. Available here.
  • Guideline Implementation: Magwood, O., Hanemaayer, A., Saad, A., Salvalaggio, G., Bloch, G., Moledina, A., ... & Kpade, V. (2020). Determinants of Implementation of a Clinical Practice Guideline for Homeless Health. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 17(21), 7938. https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17217938
  • Delphi prioritization:  Shoemaker ES, Kendall CE, Mathew C, Crispo S, Welch V, Andermann A, et al. (2020) Establishing need and population priorities to improve the health of homeless and vulnerably housed women, youth, and men: A Delphi consensus study. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0231758. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0231758
  • Housing and income interventions: Aubry, T., Bloch, G., Brcic, V., Saad, A., Magwood, O., Abdalla, T., et al. (2020). Effectiveness of permanent supportive housing and income assistance interventions for homeless individuals in high-income countries: a systematic review. The Lancet Public Health, 5(6), e342-e360. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(20)30055-4
  • Case management: Ponka D, Agbata E, Kendall C, Stergiopoulos V, Mendonca O, Magwood O, et al. (2020) The effectiveness of case management interventions for the homeless, vulnerably housed and persons with lived experience: A systematic review. PLoS ONE 15(4): e0230896. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0230896
  • Harm reduction and substance use: Magwood O, Salvalaggio G, Beder M, Kendall C, Kpade V, Daghmach W, et al. (2020) The effectiveness of substance use interventions for homeless and vulnerably housed persons:  A systematic review of systematic reviews on supervised consumption facilities, managed alcohol programs, and pharmacological agents for opioid use disorder. PLoS ONE 15(1): e0227298. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0227298 
  • Magwood O, Salvalaggio G, Pottie K et al. (2019). Harm reduction and pharmacotherapeutic interventions for the homeless and vulnerably housed: An empty systematic review. Cochrane Equity Methods. [PDF]
  • Lived experiences: Magwood O, Leki VY, Kpade V, Saad A, Alkhateeb Q, Gebremeskel A, et al. (2019) Common trust and personal safety issues: A systematic review on the acceptability of health and social interventions for persons with lived experience of homelessness. PLoS ONE 14(12): e0226306. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0226306 
  • Interventions for youth: Wang, J.Z., Mott, S., Magwood, O. et al. The impact of interventions for youth experiencing homelessness on housing, mental health, substance use, and family cohesion: a systematic review. BMC Public Health 19, 1528 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-019-7856-0
  • Interventions for women: Andermann A, Mott S, Mathew CM, Kendall C, Mendonca O, Harriott D, McLellan A, Riddle A, Saad A, Iqbal W, Magwood O, Pottie K. Evidence-informed interventions and best practices for supporting women experiencing or at risk of homelessness: a scoping review with gender and equity analysis. Health Promot Chronic Dis Prev Can. 2021 Jan;41(1):1-13. English, French. doi:10.24095/hpcdp.41.1.01
  • Medical Education Curriculum:  Hashmi, S. S., Saad, A., Leps, C., Gillies-Podgorecki, J., Feeney, B., Hardy, C., et al. (2020). A student-led curriculum framework for homeless and vulnerably housed populations. BMC Medical Education, 20(1), 1-7. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-020-02143-z
  • Engagement tools: Pinto N. (2019). Assessing perceptions: A scoping review of qualitative research tools for engaging with vulnerable populations. Cochrane Equity Methods. [PDF


  • Campbell Collaboration International Systematic Review: Moledina A, Magwood O, Agbata E, Hung JH, Saad A, Thavorn K, Pottie K. A comprehensive review of prioritized interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of persons with lived experience of homelessness. Campbell Systematic Reviews (under review). 
  • Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP) Position Statement: Improving Emergency Care for Patients Experiencing Homelessness (In progress)
  • Lived experience of migrants: Kaur et al. (under review). Is it time for migrant-specific shelters? Migrants who are homeless or vulnerably housed report heightened discrimination and mental illness: A systematic review using CERQual.


Objective 1 Conduct Delphi consensus processes to prioritize evidence gaps

Objective 2 Conduct systematic reviews with equity considerations on identified priorities and related interventions for the health of people who are homeless and vulnerably housed 

Objective 3 Produce GRADE evidence based recommendations for the health of homeless and vulnerably housed people consideration acceptability, feasibility and local contexts.

Road Map to Our Project:

Road map


Homeless Guidelines News: Volume 1, Issue 4, May 2019

Homeless Guidelines News: Volume 1, Issue 3, December 2018

Homeless Guidelines News: Volume 1, Issue 2, September 2018

Homeless Guidelines News: Volume 1, Issue 1, April 2018
Le point sur les lignes directrices concernant les sans-abri: Volume 1, numéro 1, avril 2018


May 15, 2018: The experiences of homeless and vulnerably housed persons around health and social services. A protocol for a systematic review of qualitative studies. PDF 


Campbell protocol:  Pottie et al. A comprehensive review of prioritized interventions to improve the health and wellbeing of persons with lived experience of homelessness. Campbell Systematic Reviews. 2019;15(3):e1048.


July 31, 2018: Harm reduction and pharmacotherapeutic interventions for persons with substance use disorders: A protocol for a systematic review of reviews. PDF


August 10, 2018: Impact of Interventions for Homeless Youth: A Narrative Review using Health, Social, Gender, and Equity OutcomesPDF