In York Region, there is a growing awareness of the problem of youth homelessness. In the past many people saw it as a ‘big city’ problem, more likely to occur in places like downtown Toronto or Vancouver. But we now know from research that the factors that drive youth to become homeless are not isolated in big cities, but are also present in urban, suburban and rural areas. This is most certainly true of York Region. The question then becomes, what do we do about it?
This report is the culmination of a community engagement process led by United Way York Region and supported by the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. The goal of this initiative is the development of a more coordinated and integrated systems response to youth homelessness, one designed to support families and help young people stay in their communities, stay in school, and grow into an adulthood characterized by happiness, well-being and opportunity.
The Leaving Home report presents the findings from the research project that was conducted over the summer of 2013 with 60 young people from York Region who had experienced homelessness, as well as a number of service providers. Informed by emerging Canadian and international practices, key recommendations are also presented. All are intended to inspire and contribute to a broader conversation about the problem of youth homelessness so that young people and their families get the supports they need to avoid this undesirable outcome.