There are a number of rules to help ensure the smooth running of the Rights of Passage Program. In many cases, these also support the Covenant House International principles of Sanctuary and Structure.

Rules are created to match youth where they are at based on their age and stage of life. In Vancouver the rules are also influenced by the Steps and the stage the youth is at in the program. For example, at Step 1 a youth can get support from staff with waking up, remembering appointments, taking medication, but in later stages these need to be done without staff assistance.

Per the case plan all youth must be in school, working or following an alternative track to address mental health or addictions issues. There is zero tolerance for discrimination, violence etc.

There are also general rules that would apply to most transitional housing programs around cleaning up after oneself, chores and bedroom cleanliness. Both locations, understanding that not all youth have the knowledge, teach youth to complete certain chores, how to maintain their room etc. Room inspections take place (daily in Toronto, weekly in Vancouver) to check for fire safety, presence of unauthorized visitors and cleanliness, including no dirty dishes, no spoiled food, empty garbage bins, no excessive dirty laundry etc.

These chores are also used to help incentivize youth. In Toronto, for example, completion of chores and a clean room is one of the criteria for overnights and extended curfews (conversely, failure to do chores could result in decreased curfews). In Toronto youth do two chores per week, four chores in a two-week period and no more than one per day.  In Vancouver they do five chores per week.

Other general rules apply to the use of space and safety. Both agencies have rules about computer use, for example. Rules are in place to address issues such as noise, smoking, keys/fobs, pets, damages, cable/internet, laundry, sexual activity, weapons, pornography, attire, belongings etc.

Below we outline some of key rules that should be considered in the development of a transitional housing program, understanding that other rules may need to be developed depending on a specific agency’s needs or program offerings.

Rules included in the toolkit cover the following topics:

  • Curfew
  • Overnights
  • Visitors
  • Medication
  • Drug and Alcohol Use