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
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.