Here are all of our past articles.
Evaluating with an open mind and a humble heart: Reflections from the Canadian Evaluation Society Conference
How can be humbler and more open-minded? In evaluation we are taught to measure success and outcomes, tracking indicators over time using ‘evidence-based, Western’ methodologies. The focus in evaluation is on the external. Yet, I’m realizing more than ever, that we must look inwards and undergo a process of self-reflection in order to understand personal and systemic biases that we each have. We need to humbly acknowledge that we are learners, especially when it comes to understanding another’s experience. We should not just do this as evaluators, but as members of this society and as human beings.
Social capital has been studied and defined in recent decades by academics and community development professionals striving to create greater community resilience. The importance of being able to bounce back after a local crisis is equally appreciated in both city and country settings. As threats of floods and fires become more real, it’s nice to know that rural communities may have advantages and hidden knowledge that can help protect us—and that others can learn from. This is a pleasant change from the stereotypes of rural people and places being backwards and needing a hand up. However experts acknowledge that attempting to measure a complex web of relationships is difficult because there is no such thing as a standardized unit of social capital.
BC Healthy Communities’ planning team, together with Urban Matters, have netted a nomination for the Planning Institute of BC’s New Directions Award for their work on the Strathcona Regional District Housing Needs Assessment. The project, which wrapped last year, was deemed as innovative for its approaches to gathering qualitative data. These included community engagement techniques designed to reach members of the community from across the housing spectrum, particularly from those regularly accessing housing services, those experiencing homelessness, and those with mental health challenges and diverse abilities. This allowed for a report that highlighted not only necessary information on housing stock and tenure, but also systemic issues impacting accessibility and affordability across the region, including systemic racism, lack of food access and challenging transportation scenarios.
In an exciting new move, the City of Campbell River is taking action to provide safe and supportive housing for community members, collaborating with BC Housing to establish 50 units of supportive housing in the community within the next two years. The move comes after a 2018 Regional Housing Needs Assessment, conducted by BC Healthy Communities and Urban Matters, identified a number of trends affecting housing in Campbell River, including low rental vacancy rates and rising rental costs that put pressure on the region’s most vulnerable citizens. Additionally, a 2018 homeless count identified at least 81 people experiencing homelessness in Campbell River.