System in Crisis: An Action Plan for the Future of Toronto's Homeless Youth

Toronto youth shelters are on the frontline of getting homeless youth off the street. These non-for-profit shelters provide the supports homeless youth need to better their lives and contribute to the community. The Youth Shelter Interagency Network (YSIN) comprises eleven youth shelters (541 beds of Toronto's 579 beds) that provide shelter, housing and crisis counseling; and rehabilitation and remediation programs for at-risk youth. The last decade has seen a number of dramatic changes to the face and complexity of youth homelessness. Since the introduction of youth shelters in the 1980's, the scope and breadth of services provided by shelters have changed dramatically. The issues of today's homeless youth are increasingly complex and cross over into many of the silos service provision (education, child welfare, youth justice, health, immigration). To keep up with these diverse needs, Toronto's youth shelters have evolved from the basic provision of safety, food, and shelter to a comprehensive and sophisticated service delivery mechanism that provides help to youth with mental and physical health issues, substance use issues, immigration issues, educational issues and legal issues. (abstract from the document)

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