We’re pleased to announce the launch of the third round of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Prevention Awards Program. Presented by Canada Life, the program is part of a broader suite of activities co-led by A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to transform our response to youth homelessness. 

We were so pleased with the results of last year’s program. We gave two awards, the winners being Stepstones for Youth (Safe at Home Program) and Choices for Youth (Momma Moments Program). We received a number of strong submissions in 2022, resulting in us also giving three honorary mentions: CAF Halton: Bridging the Gap, Argus: FirstConnect, and CMHA Kelowna: Bright Mindz. 

As previously noted, awards programs can be really useful in a number of ways, including celebrating and showcasing the important work happening to prevent youth homelessness. They can also act as mechanisms to unearth innovation, and our first two years of the Making the Shift Awards did just that!

The Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Prevention Awards program’s specific objectives are as follows:

  • Further disseminate the definition of prevention developed for the “Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness”
  • Identify promising prevention programs and practices to be showcased and prioritized for the development of case studies, webinars, and other knowledge products
  • Identify promising prevention programs and practices to be prioritized for research, evaluation, and/or demonstration projects
  • Map the barriers to prevention programs and interventions

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness’ definition of prevention underpins the Making the Shift work, including the Awards Program. Homelessness prevention refers to policies, practices, and interventions that reduce the likelihood that someone will experience homelessness. It also means providing those who have been homeless with the necessary resources and supports to stabilize their housing, enhance integration and social inclusion, and ultimately reduce the risk of the recurrence of homelessness.

The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and A Way Home Canada developed the “Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness” to not only define prevention but also to showcase examples of prevention in action across a number of domains in both Canada and around the world. The “Roadmap” is critical, as it also points to who is responsible for what in our collective efforts to prevent youth homelessness. For the purposes of the award, we will use the Roadmap to define the parameters of prevention. 

Again this year, we will be selecting two official winners, along with possible honorary mentions, to Canadian organizations and collaborations. Winners will be celebrated in the following ways:

  • Winners will each receive a cash prize of $10,000, presented by Canada Life.
  • Winners will be showcased in a public webinar.
  • Winners will be invited to share their work in conference presentations as opportunities arise.
  • Winners will be invited to join the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness if they are not already members.
  • Winners will receive a mini case study of their initiative, produced by research and communications staff at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. The case studies will be published in the Homeless Hub newsletter, with a national and international reach of more than 18,000 subscribers.
  • Winners will be showcased in an updated edition of the Roadmap for the Prevention of Youth Homelessness.

To learn more about the program, please see the informational webinar here

To apply or to nominate an initiative, access the program criteria and submission form here.