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Lived Experience

Fostering Change Through Personal Narratives, Community Engagement, and Reflective Practices

What is 'Lived Experience'?

"Lived experience" refers to the personal knowledge and understanding gained through direct, firsthand involvement in everyday life events, rather than through theories or representations provided by others. It refers to the subjective experience of individuals, acknowledging that each person's perspective is unique and influenced by their specific context, including their social, cultural, historical, and personal background.

What have we learned about Lived Experience?

Green Wood Coalition has learned the invaluable role of incorporating the voices and experiences of those directly impacted by poverty and homelessness into the development of services and programs. Through our work, we've seen that solutions designed without the input of those with lived experience often miss the mark in effectively addressing the needs of marginalized individuals and families. Our approach, grounded in a community model of caring, has shown us that people who have navigated hunger, homelessness, and hurt bring unique insights that can lead to more compassionate, effective, and responsive services. This engagement not only enriches program development but also empowers individuals by valuing their gifts, strengths and contributions, fostering a sense of belonging and self-worth.

Green Wood Coalition can help bring Lived Experience understanding to your work.

Green Wood Coalition can assist your organization in integrating lived experience into your initiatives by sharing our decade-long street-level experience and participatory practices. Our approach emphasizes the importance of walking alongside those we serve, recognizing the mutual needs of giving and receiving. By leveraging our insights and methodologies, we can guide your agency in adopting practices that genuinely reflect the voices of those with lived experience. This includes facilitating connections to individuals who have firsthand experience of instability and ensuring that their perspectives are central to the planning, development, and implementation of programs and policies. With Green Wood's support, your organization can create services that truly resonate with and meet the needs of those experiencing poverty, homelessness, and related challenges.

Some resources that may help:

"Hearing The Voices of Lived/Living Experience" is a Green Wood resource guide on incorporating lived experience in work. 

"Understanding Homelessness In Canada" is a free, award winning e-book, created in part by Green Wood staff member, Nicole Whitmore. 

Want to learn more about using Lived Experience in your work?

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