Funding Services for Homeless Youth in Canada: Review and Recommendations

The response to homelessness is growing more sophisticated. Communities are recognizing that homeless youth differ from homeless adults and are beginning to reshape their services to reflect that fact. Many are seeking an end to homelessness rather than just mitigation of its harm. Some are collecting data and managing performance. The most advanced communities are pushing for a funding regime that respects their expertise.

The federal government, the provinces and the territories fund providers to deliver homeless services. These central funders sometimes fund specific projects by specific providers. They sometimes pay providers a daily rate based on occupancy, known as a per diem (emergency shelters are often paid per diem). They sometimes channel money to communities and allow communities discretion over how to distribute the money. The third method is gaining ground, as illustrated by the federal government’s Homelessness Partnering Strategy, Ontario’s Community Homelessness Prevention Initiative and Alberta’s Outreach Support Services Initiative.

To read the complimentary Making the Shift Year One Report, click here.

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