To support the enhanced capacity to respond to youth homelessness in communities across Canada, A Way Home has developed this toolkit to help communities create plans to prevent, reduce and end homelessness among young people. Considerable efforts are underway to effectively address youth homelessness in Canada. These efforts have culminated in the creation of A Way Home – a national coalition focused on mobilizing communities and all levels of government to take action on youth homelessness, locally and at systems level.
A Way Home is committed to supporting communities to implement evidence-based solutions, including the development of plans to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness. Such plans act as a stimulus for local and systemic change as part of a collective action to combat youth homelessness. Ending youth homelessness involves a number of critical elements and actions. These include the implementation of innovative programs and housing solutions tailored for the specific needs of young people and structural changes within the operations of homeless-serving systems.
The transformation of public systems, including child welfare, education, mental health, income supports and criminal justice and their enhanced integration, which can facilitate broad systems of care, is essential. Dynamics unique to each community must be accounted for in local efforts and plans to end youth homelessness. For instance, the overrepresentation of particular demographics in the local homeless population, such as Indigenous youth, makes a difference in the design of interventions. Further, addressing the issue in rural or urban settings considerably impacts system planning approaches and resources needed.