The purpose of this research was to develop a program that would link homeless youth and university students in a supportive relationship and that meets the needs of all key stakeholders. The key research question was: “What do key stakeholders want a program, which involves a supportive relationship between university students and homeless you, to look like?
Literature background: More research is needed to establishment intervention programs based on research to help young people who are living in the streets. These programs could include education, family interventions, relationship development, provision of safe and affordable housing, job skills training, and positive role modeling. It is important to plan interventions that would prevent youth from becoming completely integrated in the culture of the street by linking them with non-street peers and services. These linkages can promote pro-social behaviours and have the possibility to foster relationships that support, guide and protect as they navigate street life. Intervention strategies should also take into account that homeless youth are not a homogeneous group. The literature also calls for a focus on the homeless youths’ inner strengths. Concentrating on strengths, such as successfully living in a difficult street environment, and strong internal motivation for self improvement can help motivate homeless youth to change.
Homelessness-Related Research Capacities in Alberta: A Comprehensive Environmental Scan, prepared by Dr. Katharina Kovacs Burns, MSc, MHSA, PhD and Dr. Solina Richter, PhD, RN for The Alberta Homelessness Research Consortium (2010)