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Investigating Homelessness Among First Nations Veterans – Research Project

INTRODUCTION

The Assembly of First Nations (AFN) is a national advocacy organization that works to advance the collective aspirations of First Nations.

The AFN hosts at least two Assemblies each year where mandates and directives for the organization are established through resolutions directed and supported by the First Nations in Assembly, (elected Chiefs or proxies from member First Nations.)

The AFN is also guided by an Executive Committee consisting of an elected National Chief and Regional Chiefs from each province and territory.

OBJECTIVE

The objective of this Request for Proposals (RFP) is to select a bidder to provide a high quality of professionalism, integrity and confidentiality in carrying out detailed research on homelessness among First Nations veterans, including a literature review, programs and services review, and focus groups on the distinct experiences and service needs of First Nations veterans experiencing homelessness.

This project aims to develop a better understanding of the distinct and unique factors contributing to homelessness among First Nations Veterans. To that end, the proposed research will look at the impacts of enfranchisement and other factors impacting the migration of First Nations veterans away from their communities.

Research will also look at the unique needs and experiences of First Nations Veterans experiencing homelessness. This will look at how First Nations veterans face unique and disproportionate issues that are associated with increased risk of homelessness, such as the compounding impacts of direct or intergenerational trauma caused by the residential school system, the 60’s scoop, and PTSD as a result of military service. This project aims to assess both the effectiveness and availability of existing support services.

Insights from this project will contribute to expanding knowledge on Veteran homelessness across Canada and increasing the capacity of service providers to serve the unique needs of Veterans experiencing homelessness or at risk. There is currently little to no specific, disaggregated research or data on the unique needs and experiences of First Nations Veterans experiencing homelessness. First Nations are significantly overrepresented in the homeless population across Canada, and what data is available suggests that First Nations people are similarly overrepresented among Veterans experiencing homelessness.

Work will be conducted between August 5, 2024, and July 31, 2025.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

In addition to the direction provided by the First Nations-in-Assembly, the AFN is guided by an Executive Committee consisting of the elected National Chief and Regional Chiefs from each province and territory. Representatives from five national councils are the Knowledge Keepers Council, National Youth Council, First Nation Veteran Council (FNVC), the 2SLGBTQQIA+, and the Women Council that support and guide the decisions of the Executive Committee. 

The FNVC consists of Veterans, representatives of all First Nations veterans within Canada and the United States of America, as well as First Nations within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Canadian Department of National Defence, First Nation Peacekeeper societies, First Nations police forces, and First Nations who have served in other law enforcement agencies.

The role and function of the FNVC is to promote the recognition of contributions of First Nation Veterans in Canada made in all conflicts as allies to Canada and to educate First Nations about the history of First Nations veterans, develop and maintain a database recognizing First Nations Veterans and engage with Veteran Affairs Canada (VAC) in efforts to advance reconciliation and healing.  

The ongoing collaboration between the AFN FNVC and VAC has resulted in the 2023 signature of the AFN-VAC Letter of Understanding (LOU). The purpose of the LOU is to establish a joint commitment between the AFN and VAC to work collaboratively in responding to the specific needs of First Nation Veterans and their families and improving their overall well-being.

The LOU establishes four joint priority areas of focus:

  1. Assess and expand outreach activities for First Nations Veterans and their families.
  2. Establish clear points of contacts for First Nations Veterans matters at VAC.
  3. Increase Indigenous representation in Commemoration related activities.
  4. Support the establishment of a historical record of First Nations Veterans and soldiers who have served in times of war, military conflicts and peace, including those undocumented by Canada.

The work outlined in this RFP is particularly relevant to the first joint priority area to assess and expand outreach activities for First Nation Veterans and their families. A key action in support of this priority area is to jointly establish a First Nation Veteran Outreach strategy, including outreach to First Nations veterans experiencing homelessness. This strategy supports a ‘leave no veteran out’ approach.

In December 2023, First Nations-in-Assembly approved the National First Nations Homelessness Action Plan. The Action Plan is aimed at supporting the vision that First Nations control and deliver holistic and culturally safe supports and services so their citizens can access safe and supportive housing no matter where they live.

In support of this vision, the Action Plan sets out several First Nations-led actions as a roadmap to achieving and implementing this vision. This includes conducting research and engagement to identify the distinct service needs of First Nations women, Veterans,

Elders and youth experiencing homelessness and advocate for dedicated resources for First Nations to develop and deliver these services.

Scope of Work

Regular project meetings and check-ins

The successful proponent will be responsible for scheduling regular projects and check-in meetings with the AFN project team to provide updates and discuss next steps.

Participation in Two First Nations Veterans Council Meetings

The First Nations Veterans Council (FNVC) will provide oversight and guidance to the project, and the successful proponent will therefore be invited to attend and present at two FNVC meetings over the course of the project. One meeting will allow the successful proponent to present their proposed approach and workplan to receive input, and another will allow for the presentation of an interim report. Meeting dates are TBC.

Completion of Comprehensive Literature Review

The successful proponent will complete a comprehensive literature review to enhance understanding of the current situation and existing solutions for homelessness among First Nations Veterans. The resulting report will act as a basis for the following phases of the project. The literature review will also include a historical and current overview of services and supports for First Nations veterans returning from service, highlighting how both historic and contemporary gaps in services for First Nations veterans have impacted First Nations Veterans homelessness.

Completion of Interviews and Focus Groups

The successful proponent will conduct interviews and focus groups, resulting in the collection and analysis of qualitative data and first-hand insights from First Nations Veterans, service providers, and other contributors. This will include two in-person focus groups, with the location and format to be determined during the planning stage. Other meetings, interviews or focus groups if required may be held virtually or by teleconference. An interim report will be developed outlining results and key findings from focus groups.

Completion of Program and Service Review

The successful proponent will analyze existing programs and services which specifically service First Nations Veterans experiencing homelessness, resulting in greater knowledge of best practices and successful interventions in addressing homelessness among First Nations Veterans. AFN has begun some preliminary research in this area, and the successful proponent should incorporate this existing work into their review. The proponent will complete an interim report including the findings of the program and service review.

Final Report and Translation

The successful proponent will complete a comprehensive final report, detailing findings, best practices, lessons learned and recommendations, to be submitted to AFN for review, edits, and approval. The report will ultimately be disseminated to First Nations as well as relevant organizations, policymakers, and service providers.

Project Requirements           

Project initiation and literature review

  • Project Initiation Meeting
  • Project Charter/Workplan submitted to AFN for review
  • Preliminary Meeting with First Nations Veterans Council
  • Completion of comprehensive literature review and submission to AFN for review

Interviews and Focus Groups

  • Submission of interview questions and focus group plans to AFN for review.
  • Completion of interviews and focus groups with First Nations Veterans, service providers, and other stakeholders.
  • Draft interim report outlining results and outcomes of interviews and focus groups to AFN for review

Program and Service Review

  • Detailed review of existing programs and services across Canada supporting First Nations Veterans experiencing homelessness, building on preliminary AFN research
  • Draft Program and Service review interim report to AFN for review

Reporting

  • Draft final report to AFN for review and input
  • Incorporation of edits
  • AFN approval of final report
  • Translation of report into both official languages for dissemination

Project Timeframe:

The work shall be completed between August 5, 2024, and July 31, 2025.

Project Deliverables

Project Initiation Meeting                  August 5, 2024

Project Charter/Workplan                  August 16, 2024

Comprehensive Literature Review     September 1, 2024

Interview/focus group report             March 1, 2025

Program and Service Review Report  April 1, 2025

Draft Final Report                               July 15, 2025

Final Report in English and French     July 31, 2025

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION INSTRUCTIONS

All proposals shall be received by the AFN no later than 5:00 PM Eastern Time on July 29, 2024.

All proposals will clearly identify the name of the proponent and the note “RFP for Investigating Homelessness Among First Nations Veterans” in the subject heading.

Individuals shall indicate whether they identify as Indigenous and what Indigenous community acknowledges their membership. Corporate entities shall do the same for the ownership of the entity and for those who will conduct the work under the RFP.

Late submissions will not be accepted and will be returned unopened without exception. The use of the mail or courier services for delivery of a bid will be at the risk of the bidder.

PROPOSAL SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

 All proposals shall include the following information:

  1. An Executive Summary outlining the background information of the proponent’s company, including contents of the proposal.
  1. Qualifications: provide a description of the proponent’s capabilities/experience specifically related to the research on homelessness, First Nations social issues, and veterans issues.
  1. A statement and description of the physical and human resources required to complete the research project including software and intellectual material;
  2. Project Organization: Identify the composition of the proposed project team, if any, including:
  1. Project team members;
  2. Description of the roles of the team members
  3. Level of experience of the team members specific to research on First Nations issues, homelessness and Veterans issues.
  1. Client References: the names of three (3) references which have used the services of the bidder. References to include the client name, title, contact information.
  1. Cost Breakdown: The Proponent shall provide a detailed cost breakdown for the proposed services, showing the total cost for the performance of all services, expenses, materials, deliverables, and software/hardware costs (if applicable), to be used for completion of the work. Total cost shall be in Canadian dollars and inclusive of HST.
  1. Qualifications/Experience

Proponents should possess the following qualifications:

  • Expert-level knowledge of developing research projects with First Nations or First Nations-led organizations and conducting interviews and focus groups using culturally appropriate methodologies.
  • Trained in, and have, rigorous data custodial practices governed by OCAP® Principles
  • Knowledge of the specific issues facing First Nations which led to disproportionate rates of homelessness and housing insecurity among First Nations citizens.
  • Knowledge and expertise pertaining to First Nations Veterans issues.

RIGHTS OF THE AFN

The AFN reserves the right to:

  1. reject any or all proposals received in response to this Request for Proposals;
  2. enter into negotiation with one or more bidders on any or all aspects of their respective proposals;
  3. accept any proposal in whole, or in part;
  4. cancel and/or re-issue the modified version of a given RFP requirement at any time;
  5. award one or more contracts;
  6. verify all information provided with respect to a given RFP requirement, including the right to request a confirmation of the bidder’s legal status and signed documentation; and
  7. award contracts without competition for follow-up work, if any, to the selected bidder for a given project requirement.

EVALUATION CRITERIA

The AFN will select the Proponent(s) which, in the AFN’s sole discretion, best serves the needs of the AFN. The following is a summary of the general considerations that will be used to determine the Proponent(s) that will be selected:

1.     Overall Experience and Demonstrated Results

2.     Budget Approach and Cost Effectiveness

3.     Proposed Research Methodology and Approach

4.     Knowledge and expertise pertaining to First Nations Homelessness/Veterans Issues

5.     Indigenous Organization / Individual

6.     Knowledge, training and application surrounding the principles of Ownership, Control, Access and Possession (OCAP®)

Total

20%

20%

20%

 

20%

10%

10%

100%

 

TIMETABLE

The following dates are set forth for informational and planning purposes and may be changed at the AFN’s sole discretion.

Description of Milestone

Date

Deadline for questions

 

July 24, 2024

Deadline for submission of proposals

 

July 29, 2024

Successful proponent selected and notified to start contract

 August 1, 2024

 

Contract start date

 

August 5, 2024

The timetable is tentative only and may be changed by the AFN, in its sole discretion, at any time prior to the Proposal Submission Deadline.

MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS

Price

Contractors must provide a firm fixed price, including administrative fees, material costs, translation, printing of draft concepts and HST.

Confidentiality

Responses to this RFP will be considered as confidential information by the AFN and will be used solely for the purposes of selecting the successful bidder.

Clarification/ Questions

All on-time proposals will be acknowledged.

Requests for clarification and/or questions regarding this RFP should be directed to:

Jordan Fischer
Senior Policy Analyst
50 O’Connor Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2
Telephone: (613) 241-6789 extension 345
Facsimile: (613) 241-5808
Electronic Mail: [email protected]

Responses/ Submission

Only those submissions that meet the deadline will be considered.

Responses to this RFP must be received by the close of business (5:00pm EST) on July 29, 2024

Responses may be sent by mail or courier to:

Jordan Fischer
Assembly of First Nations
50 O’Connor Street, Suite 200
Ottawa, ON K1P 6L2