The needs of young people, particularly young people with lived and living expertise of homelessness, are distinct from adults. And so, the supports and interventions that are made available to young people must reflect these realities.
Imagine for a moment, the pressures a young person who, for the first time, finds themselves with no place to go: “How will I pay rent?” “Where do I start?” “Who can I rely on for advice?” All the while you are juggling school, a part time job, staying connected to your friends, and navigating the trials and tribulations of teenage life. This is an impossible situation. But one that many young people in Canada and around the world find themselves in.
The response to youth homelessness demands coordination across systems and between local service providers. It starts by recognizing that housing alone will not end homelessness. Young people need to feel connected to community, have access to cultural and spiritual guidance, rent supplements, assistance with employment, and ongoing clinical support. Providing these services in combination with safe, appropriate, and affordable housing is key to meaningfully preventing and ending youth homelessness.
The Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) program model – a youth-focused adaption of the successful Housing First intervention – is a promising example of how to do this work effectively.
The 2021 version of THIS is Housing First has been broken into two sections:
As has been the case with previous versions of this guide, it is a working document that will continue to be refined as new research and practice-related knowledge emerges.