As Canadian Thanksgiving weekend comes to a close, I’m reflecting on the wonderful things we are thankful for at A Way Home Canada. As I’ve written about many times in the past, so much of our learning about necessary shifts in how we respond to youth homelessness in Canada come from around the world. This process of shared learning is ongoing and informs everything we do in reimagining solutions to youth homelessness through transformations in policy, planning and practice. It’s also humbling to know that our efforts with A Way Home Canada have inspired communities, states and other countries to join this international movement for change.
Guess what? Now we have an entire continent on board (Europe), with another (Australia - well, it’s both a continent and a country) poised to kick-off their A Way Home efforts in Spring 2019! So what does this all mean? It means we have additional partners to engage in shared learning about effective solutions in policy, practice and planning for preventing and ending youth homelessness. It allows us to have an even stronger collective voice to advocate with and for young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness. It helps ensure youth homelessness as a fusion policy issue is on the map and can no longer be ignored. It pushes the agenda on prevention to be less of an issue of when we’ll get to it and more about how we’ll get it done.
In the coming months, we’ll be working with AWH partners from around the world to draft and build consensus on a set of shared international principles that guide the A Way Home movement for change. These principles will be grounded in the experiences and wisdom of people with lived experience of youth homelessness. They will serve to remind us of the values that drive our collective work.
A Way Home Europe is an initiative of the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless (FEANTSA). FEANTSA brings together non-profit services that support people experiencing homelessness in Europe. FEANTSA has over 130 member organizations from 30 countries, including 28 Member States. A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness have a solid history of collaboration with FEANTSA and FEANTSA Youth. (Fun fact - one of FEANTSA’s employees/one of our favourite co-conspirators in Brussels is a Canadian - from Edmonton no less!) Recent collaborations include the development of the THIS is Housing First for Youth Program Model Guide and the adaptation and translation of the Youth Rights, Right Now! Human Rights Guide for a number of European countries.
“FEANTSA is proud to start disseminating the A Way Home movement in Europe. With the support of AWH Canada and other international guests from Wales and Australia, the launch in Antwerp (Belgium) last month was a success. In October, we will be launching the local coalition in Villach (Austria) and, in November, www.awayhome.eu will allow us to share our experiences within the A Way Home Europe Hub!” - Stéphane Leclercq, A Way Home Europe Project Officer
Meet Stéphane Leclercq, a Project Officer with A Way Home Europe. He has kindly offered to explain the details of the A Way Home Europe project. Stéphane, we couldn’t be more excited to work with you on this!Thanks, Melanie. Between April 2018 and March 2020, a European consortium between the Flemish Agency for Youth Welfare Agency (BE), Artesis Plantijn University College - AP (BE), Cachet (BE), the European Federation of National Organisations Working with the Homeless - FEANTSA (EU), the European Network of Social Authorities - ENSA (EU) and the Carinthian Government - Social Affairs and Society (AT), Diakonie (AT) is developing the “A Way Home – Europe” project on after care strategies for young care leavers. It is launching three work streams:
- FOR LOCAL COALITIONS : the “A Way Home Europe (AWH)” Hub. Based on the Canadian AWH movement and the experience of European pilot cities, the AWH Europe Hub will provide resources for European cities to launch and/or support local coalitions in order to reach a collective impact by generating and implementing a plan on preventing, reducing and ending youth homelessness.
- FOR SERVICE PROVIDERS : the “After Care Protocol” with a toolbox and a training package. The protocol is a set of standards, measures, actions and engagements that service providers have to fulfil regarding their clients who will leave care and also during a (limited) period after they’ve left care. It describes the steps that have to be put into place for successful after care trajectories, that addresses the known gaps the youngster might occur, both in preparations for leaving care and for aftercare supports (legal conditions and quality standards).
- Dissemination Activities and Communication Tools.
All the information about the project activities, seminars and materials will be available on www.awayhome.eu (coming soon!)