Adaption and Implementation of the Housing Outreach Program Collaborative (HOP-C) North for Indigenous Youth

There is a high prevalence of Indigenous youth experiencing either precarious housing or homelessness in northwestern Ontario. Given that Indigenous pathways to homelessness can differ from non-Indigenous youth, interventions that address homelessness must also adapt to meet diverse needs. The Housing Outreach Program Collaborative (HOP-C) is a tertiary prevention intervention designed to provide congruent housing and peer and mental health supports for youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto, Ontario. Less is known regarding its adaptability to adequately serve Indigenous youth in northwestern Ontario. This study assessed the preliminary effectiveness and feasibility of an adaptation of the HOP-C North program for transitional aged Indigenous youth exiting homelessness in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Participants completed premeasures (n = 15) and postmeasures (n = 8) as well as qualitative interviews regarding their experiences in the program. Qualitative interviews were also conducted with staff (n = 14) engaged in implementing the program. After completing the HOP-C North program, participants reported improvements in a number of outcomes, including increased educational enrollment, attainment of employment, reduced hospitalizations, and increased engagement in clinical mental health services. Specific program aspects that participants found helpful included increased program flexibility, accessibility, emphasis on relationships, relevance of programming, fostering participant autonomy, and an adaptive approach to program implementation. These findings suggest that the HOP-C North model, when adapted, is a helpful program for Indigenous youth.

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American Journal of Orthopsychiatry