In following the Foyer’s Hub and Spoke model, both Covenant House Toronto (CHT) and Covenant House Vancouver (CHV) have developed different forms of transitional housing (besides their onsite Rights of Passage Program). Both agencies have a partnership with Hollyburn Properties, a large property management company that provides three apartments in Vancouver and two apartments in Toronto. CHT also has two condominium units through a partnership with the Daniels Corporation, a residential developer.
Toronto anticipates having 20 supported scattered-site apartments in total within the next three years, including a specialized program for women who are victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking. Vancouver also hopes to increase the size of its off-site transitional housing offerings.
Additionally, both organizations have housing workers who strive to develop connections with landlords – whether they are landlords who rent a room in their own home or those with multiple or large-scale rental opportunities.
While Covenant House Toronto has a more organized after-care component, both organizations try to stay connected with youth who leave to help address issues and prevent them from becoming homeless again.
“One of the things that we’ve found over the last several years is that young people are staying longer and longer in our shelter and part of the reason for that is…there are no affordable housing options for kids to move to in community. So we came up with the idea that we needed to create some of those options ourselves. We were turning to government but, quite frankly, government was not able to come forward with solutions that could meet or stem the tide of demand. We felt that we needed to come up with a customized approach that would work for the young people that we’re seeing. So that has helped to yield results with our new transitional housing program…our scattered apartment program.” — Bruce Rivers, Executive Director, Covenant House Toronto
Homeless Hub Thoughts:
One of the successes of Covenant House’s transitional housing program is the variety of options available to youth and this is a key consideration for any agency. Often, transitional housing is considered only within a bricks and mortar model; all residents housed in the same location. If proper support is provided it is possible to have a pure scattered site model as evidenced by the success of the Calgary Boys and Girls Club’s Infinity Project. ROP and Covenant House demonstrate that a melding of these two options, with both scattered site and residential transitional housing units provided, is also possible.