Developing Plan Goals

As you work through the data you gathered from your research and consultation process, consider emerging themes that are common throughout the material and examine these against the aforementioned priority areas. There may be variations on the priority areas outlined in this toolkit, but in some way you will need to address these issues in your plan’s proposed approach.

Various communities use different terms to highlight the broad priority areas and associated actions. There is no standard but what is key is that you have a way of differentiating between the two and ensuring that your shorter term activities feed into larger priorities.

The detailed actions associated with your goals break down the priorities into smaller pieces that can be operationalized. These should be action oriented and reflect both best practices and community-identified needs. In other words, just because a national report identifies a particular program as a promising practice, doesn’t mean it necessarily fits within your local context. It is the job of the planning team to articulate relevant goals for your community. Be strategic and succinct in how these are presented, but provide sufficient rationale as to why the goals within the plan are priorities. Further, build on existing efforts and link with ongoing government or community initiatives where possible.

The table below, adapted from the Calgary Plan to End Youth Homelessness Refresh Strategy Overview (2016), provides examples of the types of goals often found in youth plans. If your plan has a specific focus on Indigenous homelessness, LGBTQ2S youth, newcomers, etc., you may want to delve in deeper into these issues throughout the plan. In the case of recommended actions, you can also consider having a separate strategy on Indigenous youth, for instance, or integrate the focus throughout the goals.

Table 25: Common Plan Objectives

Priority Area Common Objectives

Leadership, Engagement & Resources

  • Mobilize diverse stakeholder groups to enhance collective impact on youth homelessness and develop a theory of change to guide the planning and implementation process.
  • Develop the infrastructure and governance necessary to implement the youth plan.
  • Develop and advance a policy and funding agenda to end youth homelessness.
  • Coordinate diverse funding sources to maximize impact on youth homelessness.
  • Champion an end to youth homelessness.
  • Introduce strategic education and awareness campaigns to support plan implementation.
  • Use research and knowledge mobilization to support ending youth homelessness.
  • Support youth’s meaningful engagement in plan development and implementation.
  • Build private sector partnerships to support plan goals.


  • Introduce targeted prevention measures to support youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness. This includes shelter diversion and prevention supports to keep youth housed or rapidly rehouse them when they do become homeless.
  • Promote family reunification and mediation supports.
  • Ensure single youth and youth in families have access to available social housing and rent subsidy supports as well as income assistance to maintain housing stability.
  • Ensure youth are not discharged into homelessness from housing programs, child protection services, health and correctional systems.
  • Develop effective supports for youth aging out of government care.
  • Work with schools to educate youth about homelessness and available supports.
  • Enhance youth’s access to education, training and job skill development.

System Planning & Integration      

Ensure the diverse services for at-risk and homeless youth have well-articulated roles in the broader system of care; ensure program type, target population, eligibility criteria and outcomes are well articulated for each program, whether delivered by the non-profit or public sector.

Introduce measures to enhance service integration within and between youth-serving, homeless-serving and key public systems, including child protection, domestic violence, education, correction and health to implement the plan. Measures to improve coordination and integration among key stakeholders serving homeless and at risk youth can include:

  • Collective vision and guiding principles,
  • Collaborative planning processes,
  • Coordinated access and assessment processes,
  • Data and information sharing, including use of common information system performance management and quality assurance,
  • Coordinated service delivery,
  • Capacity building and training, and
  • Captured information about youth is used effectively in research and initiatives, including homeless counts and HMIS/HIFIS.

Housing & Supports

  • Use a Housing First Framework for youth and a range of effective program models to support the prevention, reduction and ending of youth homelessness. This incorporates various housing solutions that will respond appropriately to the broad range of the homeless youth’s needs (including family-style homes, transitional housing, independent apartments, supportive housing, etc.).
  • Revise and enhance the role of youth-specific and adult shelters and transitional housing in ending youth homelessness.
  • Introduce and/or reform transitional housing for youth, such as Foyer, to ensure best outcomes.
  • Provide outreach services to connect youth with housing and support.
  • Ensure accessible and affordable transportation options are available to youth to access supports and housing, particularly in rural communities.
  • Introduce independent housing options for youth, including adaptations of the Housing First approach.
  • Increase affordable housing options appropriate for and accessible to youth.
  • Develop a targeted landlord recruitment strategy to enhance youth’s access to private rental units.
  • Tailor interventions to meet the needs of diverse youth groups, including Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, immigrant, parenting, sexually exploited youth and youth with developmental disabilities, mental health and/or addiction issues.
  • Promote relationship-based approaches to supporting youth.
  • Explore innovative models of peer-based support and mentorship.
  • Ensure youth have access to necessary treatment and recovery supports to address addiction, mental and physical health issues.


Considerations for a focus on Indigenous youth

An example of a youth plan that focuses on Indigenous youth is Calgary’s 2011 Youth Plan. During consultations for the plan’s development, the Aboriginal Standing Committee on Housing and Homelessness provided the backbone supports leading the work (Calgary Homeless Foundation). It includes several elements that should be considered in any plan involving Indigenous people, as outlined in the Calgary Plan to End Aboriginal Homelessness (note that the original input from the ASCHH was specific to Aboriginal people, not Indigenous – hence we kept the original term):

  • To end Aboriginal homelessness and other housing issues while understanding cultural competencies and ensuring cultural sensitivities through collaborative community efforts and awareness of cultural identity; maintain safe and culturally appropriate housing… allows for not just purchasing, but renting and maintenance as well;
  • Expand and support existing organizations and agencies that provide housing to homeless Aboriginal youth and children;
  • Centralize the intake system to ensure Aboriginal identification is captured and utilized;
  • Establish Aboriginal transition/halfway houses/group homes for Aboriginal youth leaving institutions, like ILS home or Wellington House, when leaving foster care, CYOC, hospitals, etc.;
  • Establish safe, culturally relevant and sensitive discharge plans, so no Aboriginal person is discharged into homelessness or unsafe housing; do not want to discharge anyone into an unsafe (physically, or otherwise) situation;
  • Initiate greater consultation with Aboriginal organizations and agencies in the creation of HMIS (and incorporation of culturally sensitive questions at intake);
  • Talk to and learn from the Aboriginal people who have been previously or are currently homeless or have faced housing issues;
  • It is far too subjective to measure success, instead we should find out from our people what they feel is and is not working, best practices and where improvements can be made;
  • Increase competent Aboriginal workforce and treatment facilities, with cultural, spiritual and emotional perspectives (harm reduction);
  • Ensure all four levels of government are involved in ensuring Aboriginal inclusion;
  • Create an urban Aboriginal cultural support system/centre, with culturally specific wrap around programs;
  • Cannot just be managed on a case-by-case situation – should be available for prevention – proactive rather than reactive approach;
  • Provide more opportunities for urban Aboriginal people to earn income and receive education;
  • More engagement and involvement with stakeholders, leaders, committee members and First Nation communities. Discussions around off-reserve funding availability;
  • Educate the community about poverty, homelessness and Aboriginal issues through Alberta-specific workers at community resource centres;
  • Will need to hire more Aboriginal people to work with existing centres;
  • Build a physical epicentre, like Thunderbird Lodge in Winnipeg or the Anishnabe Health and Wellness Centre in downtown Toronto; and
  • Ensure Calgary Homeless Foundation includes two Aboriginal positions on its board – one on-reserve and one off-reserve to ensure a voice.

In response to these recommendations, Calgary’s Youth Plan places specific emphasis on Aboriginal youth homelessness in Calgary. The plan calls for engaging key stakeholders in a collaborative community-response model, with critical attention given to meet the needs of diverse communities including Aboriginal people, youth with disabilities, newcomers and LGBTQ2S youth.

There is a focus on increasing supports, awareness and services dedicated to Aboriginal young people at risk of or experiencing homelessness in Calgary, including:

  • Conducting further research about the pathways into Aboriginal youth homelessness to help ensure services dedicated to Aboriginal young people (at risk of or experiencing homelessness) will be carried out in consideration of structural factors.
  • Recognizing the overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people that are at risk of or experiencing homelessness, the youth plan adopts the following major milestone:
    • By 2018, Aboriginal homeless young people will not be overrepresented in the homeless population. According to The City of Calgary 2008 Biennial Homeless Count, Aboriginal young people and children represent 28% of the homeless population under 24 years old. Census Canada 2006 data revealed that two percent of the Calgary population self-identify as Aboriginal.
  • In conjunction with the broader Calgary 10 Year Plan, the youth plan ensuring continued implementation of case management standards for ensuring that:
    • Young Aboriginal people have control over the planning of their lives,
    • Young Aboriginal people are receiving services with contextual considerations, including pathways into homelessness for Aboriginal people. Specifically, the role of intergenerational trauma specific to the effects of colonization must be addressed to ensure adequate cultural connectedness and therefore healing for Aboriginal people.