University of Calgary

Once-homeless doctoral student to share her story

Submitted by darmstro on Wed, 2014-01-22 14:21.

Panel to discuss complex approach to addressing youth homelessness

Jan. 21, 2014

A University of Calgary PhD student will speak about her personal experience - and expertise - with homelessness at a university-organized Panel on the Issue of Homeless Youth in Calgary.

Stasha Huntingford, a Faculty of Social Work student, says, "The reason I disclose that I was once homeless, and make myself a little vulnerable, is I'd like other people to be able to talk about their experience with homelessness without shame - because it isn't shameful.

"We live in a community where everybody who sees a homeless person needs to see this as a shared community problem, not an individual problem."

Huntingford will be among five speakers on the panel to be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 3 at Central United Church, 131 - 7 Ave. S.W. The event is free and no registration is required.

Organizing the event is Religious Studies Professor Douglas Shantz, holder of the Chair of Christian Thought at the University of Calgary. He says, "The issue of homelessness attracts some of our biggest crowds. Calgarians are engaged with this - this issue crosses generations in Calgary.

"It's surprising how important a sense of home is, and how devastating an experience of exile or loss of home can be to human well-being."

The panel is the third annual event on the issue of homelessness sponsored by the University of Calgary's Chair of Christian Thought ( The Chair offers four endowed events per year that address social issues and Christian engagement with the world.

Panel members and topics are:

--  Danene Lenstra and Shannon Jones of the Alex Youth Health Centre - their
    experience working with homeless youth in Calgary, who are defined as
    the more than 560 unaccompanied people under age 24 without a permanent
    place to stay at night.
--  Alina Turner of Turner Research and Strategy Inc. - her research on
    initiatives to end youth homelessness and involvement in an attempt to
    develop the first national homeless-person count in Canada.
--  Jeannette Waegemakers Schiff, Social Work professor and member of the
    Canadian Homelessness Research Network - approaches to helping homeless
    youth that regard them as victims of trauma.
--  Stasha Huntingford, doctoral student and former homeless youth - youth
    experiencing homelessness and how it can be prevented. Huntingford is
    author of Radical Hope in Youth Recovery Coalition, a book about a
    Calgary agency she co-founded to provide peer support for homeless