In May 2011, London, Ontario will be hosting the All Our Sisters 2011 National Forum (May 9-12), the first Canadian conference specifically addressing security of housing, homelessness and safe communities for women living in Canada.

This national multi-disciplinary conference will address the social, economic and practical issues affecting homeless women and women at risk and will draw from the best of innovative and promising practices, knowledge exchange, creative arts, community development, stories and demonstrations of recovery, resilience and success.

Members of the Canada Northwest FASD Research Network will be presenting on Day 2 of the conference. Their presentation is called the The Power of Networking: Highlights of the Work of the Network Action Team on FASD Prevention from a Women’s Health Determinants Perspective. The presentation will examine the efficacy of using technology to develop virtual communities of practice that provides a forum for individuals and organizations from academic, practice and policy to interact with each other to achieve common goals around the provision of support to women with FASD and in particular women who are homeless.

You can learn more about the book by Susan Scott called All Our Sisters: Stories of Homeless Women in Canada (University of Toronto Press, 2007) by listening to this 20 minute podcast available from rabble.ca. The interview starts by telling the story of how the book got the name “All Our Sisters.” You might also want to visit The Homeless Hub, a web-based research library and information center on homelessness across Canada; the site includes several publications related to FASD.

“Some homeless women are very visible, but most are far from the public’s eye. For women, there are many ways of being homeless, besides living on the street: being afraid in a mixed shelter; staying with a violent partner because she can’t afford to leave; being bound to a pimp or dealer, couch-surfing from one relative to another; or living in unhygienic, unsafe buildings and/or overcrowded conditions. Home is about safety. A Home is where they can sleep unmolested, where their children are safe and their treasures secure. Homelessness is a complex issue. “(Susan Scott, author, 2007)