About Us

The Canadian Shelter Transformation Network is a network of homeless shelter leaders and organizations committed to becoming housing focused shelters and in taking on community leadership roles in ending homelessness.

Who We Are

Network members include family, single adults, women and youth shelters as well as policy-makers, advocates, funders and researchers.  The Network launched in May 2019.

Our Co-Chairs


Sandra Clarkson

Sandra Clarkson is the Executive Director of the Calgary Drop-In Centre. With 25 years of experience working with vulnerable populations, Sandra brings a wealth of experience as an advocate for marginalized Canadians, a champion of community collaboration, and an expert in operational excellence. Sandra’s vision is to create opportunities that result in long-term systemic improvements for citizens in need. In addition to serving on several non-profit boards, Sandra has provided strategic planning, assessment and other management consulting services to non-profits through her own business, MSH Strategies Inc.


James Hughes

James Hughes, President & Chief Executive Officer of the Old Brewery Mission, has dedicated his career to the non-profit and social services sectors playing a pivotal role in championing social inclusion and helping to reduce poverty and end chronic homelessness in Canada. Under his watch as Director General from 2004 until 2008, the Mission shifted from managing homelessness to focusing on reducing homelessness permanently through long-term solutions. He is the editor of Beyond Shelters: Solutions to Homelessness in Canada from the Front Lines. As an author, his publications include Early Intervention: How Canada’s social programs can work better, save lives, and often save money (2015), A Bipartisan Approach to Aboriginal Affairs (2013), Homelessness: Closing the Gap between Ability and Performance (2012) and Why We Can’t Afford Poverty (2012).

What we do

Network members are committed to ending homelessness, they have a bias for action and are focused on continuous improvement and making measurable progress toward becoming housing focused shelters.

This peer-led network, supported by the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, is dedicated to supporting the transformation of homeless shelters through research, training and peer learnings.

Our Work

The CSTN’s aims are:

  • Articulating a housing focused role for shelters in ending homelessness
  • Acting as the voice of shelters in the media and in policy discussions
  • Developing research and toolkits to support shelter transformation (check our Resources page)
  • Developing a community of practice
  • Collecting and posting shelter-based resources
  • Developing a set of national guidelines and certification for housing focused shelter

What it means to be a housing focused shelter

Homeless shelters play a pivotal role in the homeless systems of most Canadian communities. Over the last several years, a growing number of homeless shelters have been transforming from a traditional emergency service approach to a focus on housing and taking on community leadership roles in ending homelessness.

Read about how the Calgary Drop-In Centre is becoming housing focused: HERE

Read about Beyond Shelters, a book on transforming Canadian shelters into ‘engine rooms of homelessness elimination’: HERE

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Join our growing network

The CSTN is a network of homeless leaders and organizations committed to becoming housing focused and taking on community leadership roles in ending homelessness once and for all.

If you wish to become a member and join our mailing list and receive correspondence, newsletters and updates on the CSTN, please fill out the form here: