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Homeless 
Youth 
Stephen Gaetz 
Director, Canadian Homelessness Research Network 
Faculty of Education, York University 
R...
Thinking about 
youth 
homelessness . . .
Numbers 37,500 over a year 6000 on any given night
•2/3 are male 
•Some minority pops over-represented (including aboriginal youth) 
•LGBT youth over-represented 
•Average l...
Causes of homelessness
The Canadian Response to Homelessness - First phase 
Can we move from THIS . . . 
. . . to This!
Soooo . . . 
How do we get there?
1. Systems Approach 
The best approaches go beyond stand alone agency-based programs, to operate in an integrated way at a...
•A “system of care” approach 
•Ensuring an adequate 
supply of Affordable Housing 
•Active involvement by all levels of go...
Youth Homelessness is a 
Fusion Policy Issue 
Solving youth homelessness is NOT solely the responsibility of the sector
•A recognition of the distinctive needs of youth. 
•The primacy of a Positive Youth Development approach. 
•Differentiatio...
•Rise in credentialism (important to stay in school longer) 
•Full time jobs paying living wage are scarce (most young peo...
A Conceptual Shift is required! 
The focus should be on successful 
Transitions to ADULTHOOD 
NOT 
Transitions to independ...
•Age 
•Gender 
•Sexual Orientation 
•Ethnicity 
- newcomers 
- Aboriginal youth 
3) Consider: What works 
and for whom?
•Stop forcing young people to leave their communities 
•Retool Emergency Services (a shift away from a dependence on emerg...
A Framework for 
Thinking About Prevention
Part 1 
Primary 
Prevention
Goal: Working upstream to prevent new cases
Working in Schools
Working with Families 
•Connecting with resources 
•Strengthening anger management and conflict resolution skills within f...
Anti-Discrimination 
. . . because sometimes young people’s problems are actually other people’s problems.
The Schools / Work Project – Alone in London (United Kingdom) 
Youth Reconnect (Australia) 
Homeless Hub – Curriculum and ...
Part 2 
Systems Prevention
•Child Protection 
•Youth criminal justice – discharge planning and support 
•Mental health discharge planning and support...
Child Protection Reform
The Schools / Work Project – Alone in London (United Kingdom) 
Youth Reconnect (Australia) 
Homeless Hub – Curriculum and ...
Part 3 
Early Intervention
Interventions when someone becomes, or is about to become homeless.
Key interventions
•a pre-assessment checklist to help decide who would benefit from a common assessment 
•a standard form to record the asse...
Case Management 
Six dimensions are: 
1. Collaboration and cooperation—a true team approach, 
2. Right matching of service...
Case Management
Unfortunately, family is often framed as a problem and as part of a young person’s past.
Family Reconnection 
•Mediation 
•Conflict resolution training 
•Supporting families
Shelter Diversion 
•Respite and “Time out” housing 
•Mediation 
•Keeping young 
people in their 
communities
St. Basil’s Birmingham 
Nightstop (DePaul UK) 
Youth Reconnect (Australia) 
Raft – Niagara region 
Family Reconnect – Eva’...
Part 4 
Accommodation and Supports
Accommodation as part of a system of care
•Retool emergency sector to shorten homelessness 
•Transitional housing for youth 
•Permanent housing / affordable housing...
Accommodation Options for Youth
- Youth development approach 
-Youth can stay for 2 years or more 
- Education, training employment 
- Life skills 
- Supp...
Report 
and 
Tool kit
Housing First 
•Centering the project on the needs of youth 
•Young people must demonstrate a desire for change 
•Adopting...
Is there still a role for transitional housing?
the 
homeless 
hub 
www.homelesshub.ca
Questions?
Combating youth homelessness in Canada: what lessons for Europe
Combating youth homelessness in Canada: what lessons for Europe
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Combating youth homelessness in Canada: what lessons for Europe

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Presentation given by Stephen Gaetz, York University, Toronto (Canada) at the 2013 FEANTSA Conference "Investing in young people to prevent a lost generation:
policy and practice in addressing youth homelessness" http://feantsa.org/spip.php?article1596&lang=en

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Combating youth homelessness in Canada: what lessons for Europe

  1. 1. Homeless Youth Stephen Gaetz Director, Canadian Homelessness Research Network Faculty of Education, York University Rethinking models of prevention, accommodation and support for Investing in young people to prevent a lost generation in Europe: key policy and practice in addressing youth homelessness 8th November 2013, Prague, Czech Republic
  2. 2. Thinking about youth homelessness . . .
  3. 3. Numbers 37,500 over a year 6000 on any given night
  4. 4. •2/3 are male •Some minority pops over-represented (including aboriginal youth) •LGBT youth over-represented •Average length of stay? 4 years •Age difference matters – (under 16, 16-18, 19- 25) Characteristics of population
  5. 5. Causes of homelessness
  6. 6. The Canadian Response to Homelessness - First phase Can we move from THIS . . . . . . to This!
  7. 7. Soooo . . . How do we get there?
  8. 8. 1. Systems Approach The best approaches go beyond stand alone agency-based programs, to operate in an integrated way at a systems level
  9. 9. •A “system of care” approach •Ensuring an adequate supply of Affordable Housing •Active involvement by all levels of government and departmental integration •Strategic coordination of services within the sector and including mainstream services. Creating an integrated systems response
  10. 10. Youth Homelessness is a Fusion Policy Issue Solving youth homelessness is NOT solely the responsibility of the sector
  11. 11. •A recognition of the distinctive needs of youth. •The primacy of a Positive Youth Development approach. •Differentiation of strategies and services based on age. •Attention to Diversity. 2) Youth Development focus
  12. 12. •Rise in credentialism (important to stay in school longer) •Full time jobs paying living wage are scarce (most young people can only get low paying part time work) •Young people stay in the parental home much longer Understand how socio-economic shifts have changed adolescence and young adulthood.
  13. 13. A Conceptual Shift is required! The focus should be on successful Transitions to ADULTHOOD NOT Transitions to independence
  14. 14. •Age •Gender •Sexual Orientation •Ethnicity - newcomers - Aboriginal youth 3) Consider: What works and for whom?
  15. 15. •Stop forcing young people to leave their communities •Retool Emergency Services (a shift away from a dependence on emergency services, to a focus on prevention and housing) •STOP criminalization of homelessness 4) Stop doing what isn’t working
  16. 16. A Framework for Thinking About Prevention
  17. 17. Part 1 Primary Prevention
  18. 18. Goal: Working upstream to prevent new cases
  19. 19. Working in Schools
  20. 20. Working with Families •Connecting with resources •Strengthening anger management and conflict resolution skills within families •Foster parenting skills and healthy childhood development •Ensure young people have access to early childhood education, adequate nutrition and enriched engagement (arts, sports)
  21. 21. Anti-Discrimination . . . because sometimes young people’s problems are actually other people’s problems.
  22. 22. The Schools / Work Project – Alone in London (United Kingdom) Youth Reconnect (Australia) Homeless Hub – Curriculum and learning resources (Canada) International Insights
  23. 23. Part 2 Systems Prevention
  24. 24. •Child Protection •Youth criminal justice – discharge planning and support •Mental health discharge planning and support Goal: Zero Discharge into Homelessness
  25. 25. Child Protection Reform
  26. 26. The Schools / Work Project – Alone in London (United Kingdom) Youth Reconnect (Australia) Homeless Hub – Curriculum and learning resources (Canada) International Insights
  27. 27. Part 3 Early Intervention
  28. 28. Interventions when someone becomes, or is about to become homeless.
  29. 29. Key interventions
  30. 30. •a pre-assessment checklist to help decide who would benefit from a common assessment •a standard form to record the assessment •a delivery plan and review form •Coordinated intervention Coordinated Assessment
  31. 31. Case Management Six dimensions are: 1. Collaboration and cooperation—a true team approach, 2. Right matching of services—person-centered, 3. Contextual case management—culture and flexibility, 4. The right kind of engagement—relationships and advocacy, 5. Coordinated and well-managed system—ethics and communication, and 6. Evaluation for success—support and training.
  32. 32. Case Management
  33. 33. Unfortunately, family is often framed as a problem and as part of a young person’s past.
  34. 34. Family Reconnection •Mediation •Conflict resolution training •Supporting families
  35. 35. Shelter Diversion •Respite and “Time out” housing •Mediation •Keeping young people in their communities
  36. 36. St. Basil’s Birmingham Nightstop (DePaul UK) Youth Reconnect (Australia) Raft – Niagara region Family Reconnect – Eva’s initiatives International Insights
  37. 37. Part 4 Accommodation and Supports
  38. 38. Accommodation as part of a system of care
  39. 39. •Retool emergency sector to shorten homelessness •Transitional housing for youth •Permanent housing / affordable housing •Support for youth with complex needs •Connecting people back to communities / mainstreaming services •Reducing legal and service barriers Necessary components:
  40. 40. Accommodation Options for Youth
  41. 41. - Youth development approach -Youth can stay for 2 years or more - Education, training employment - Life skills - Support with mental health and addictions Transitional housing FOYER
  42. 42. Report and Tool kit
  43. 43. Housing First •Centering the project on the needs of youth •Young people must demonstrate a desire for change •Adopting a client-centred case-management approach •Focus on personal development, life skills and enhancing self esteem •Education and training opportunities
  44. 44. Is there still a role for transitional housing?
  45. 45. the homeless hub www.homelesshub.ca
  46. 46. Questions?

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