Stabilizing Pathways Out of Youth Homelessness

A Practice Guide

The focus of this guide is on one important part of the challenge of ending youth homelessness – reducing and eliminating cycles back into homelessness after having overcome the enormous challenge of obtaining stable housing.

The months following the transition out of homelessness are very difficult. Adequate supports are scarce, social isolation and compounding mental health and addictions challenges arise, and youth face an array of challenges – financial, landlords, criminal justice, re-engaging employment and education systems, among others. Even after having obtained stable housing, this transitional period is one in which many end up homeless again and the majority do not flourish as they'd hoped to.

This work is a part of the larger effort underway to end youth homelessness – providing guidance on the tertiary prevention end of an effort that requires similar efforts applied to enhanced primary and secondary prevention and other tertiary prevention supports (e.g., Housing First for Youth, supported employment and education programs). This guide also grew out of a joint southern, urban and northern Indigenous collaboration – with practice implications for multiple contexts.

How to use this guide

We fully appreciate that a given system will have unique cultural, geographic, service and policy related considerations. As such, this guide is designed on the front end as a broad description– providing prompts and some structure to inform local efforts – helping services and systems do some tailoring to bring their work better in line with approaches that have been found effective to date. Linked out from these broad descriptions are what could be considered “deeper dives” into content areas – providing more step-by-step resources and worksheets that get much more specific. Topically this guide moves from leadership, needs assessment, and coordination domains through to specific service domains.

Acknowledgements & Team Members (PDF)


This guide is protected under a Creative Commons license that allows you to share, copy, distribute, and transmit the work for non-commercial purposes, provided you attribute it to the original source.

How to cite this guide: HOP-C Working Group. (2020). Stabilizing Pathways Out of Youth Homelessness: A Practice Guide. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.

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