The Housing Workers, and other staff, work with youth to get them housed and established in off-site community apartments. The lack of affordable housing and the high costs of rent in both Toronto and Vancouver make this particularly challenging, but the agencies have reduced barriers through partnerships and relationships with builders, property management companies and landlords.
Having a youth transition to independent living after being in the Rights of Passage program provides some distinct advantages for the youth compared to moving directly from the street or even a shelter. Each youth will have some amount of money saved, either through personal savings or from their graduation bursary in Vancouver or their Trust Fund payment in Toronto. This helps reduce a big barrier to obtaining housing – the ability to pay both first and last month’s rent, as well as any deposits (keys, utilities etc.). Youth are also able to provide Covenant House staff as a reference to the landlord, which also gives them a leg up.
Additionally, youth who stay at Covenant House (in either the crisis shelter program or ROP) have worked to develop a budget so they have an understanding of what the needs and costs are for independent living. Those coming out of ROP have a further advantage in that they have “practiced” paying a rent-like amount through their program fee/Trust Fund payment so they better understand prioritizing rent, food and transportation.