Friends of Ruby, formerly Egale Youth OUTreach, opened its doors in 2014 in recognition of the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, violence and harassment that can occur in schools, families, and communities. The motivation for a space like Friends of Ruby was the increasing number of suicides among 2SLGBTQI (Two-Spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and/or questioning, and intersex) young people occurring across Toronto.
Friends of Ruby offers individual counselling, suicide crisis services, and social supports for 2SLGBTQI young people between 16 and 29 years old. Friends of Ruby also helps with practical needs of 2SLGBTQI young people including housing, food access, system navigation, employment, and transition support.
More than 850 youth have been supported by Friends of Ruby since its doors were opened. Mental health crises and visits to hospital emergency rooms have been prevented among 470 young people. This translates into health care savings of nearly $300,000.
From 2017 to 2018, Friends of Ruby collaborated with Hub Solutions, a social enterprise of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (COH), to conduct an evaluation of its services. This report outlines the process of the evaluation, the findings, and recommendations. The recommendations section includes an update on the progress Friends of Ruby has made toward each specific recommendation, to demonstrate the impact and utility of the evaluation.