National Youth Homeless Survey released

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courtesy of The Homeless Hub

On November 17, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness released Without a Home: The National Youth Homeless Survey. This is the largest study of its kind ever undertaken in Canada. In total, 1,103 street involved were surveyed at 47 agencies across 10 provinces and territories.

Besides providing service providers, policy makers, researchers, and the general public with important baseline information about youth homelessness in Canada, the study also offered recommendations for Federal, Provincial/Territorial and Municipal governments to end this serious social problem. Recommendations directed at municipal governments will be of interest to residents living in communities in rural Ontario.

The following is a list of recommendations the report made for communities and municipalities:

  1. All communities and/or municipalities should plan and implement strategies to prevent and end youth homelessness.
  2. Communities should focus on prevention and strategies to move young people out of homelessness instead of expanding emergency services.
  3. Community strategies should focus on systems integration to facilitate smooth transitions from homelessness and ensure no young person slips through the cracks.
  4. Community strategies should necessarily ensure that local and program responses take account of the needs of priority populations.
  5. Enable all young people who experience homelessness to reengage with education and training.
  6. Make ‘family reconnect’ supports available to all young people who come in contact with the system.
  7. Housing First for Youth should be broadly applied as both a community philosophy and as a program intervention.
  8. In working with young people, communities should focus not just on risks, but assets and resilience.
  9. Mental health and addictions needs of young people should be prioritized in community planning and service delivery.
  10. Foster meaningful youth engagement in all policy development, planning, and implementation processes.

The study was authored by: Stephen Gaetz, Bill O’Grady, Sean Kidd and Kaitlin Schwan. Funding for this study was provided by the Home Depot Canada Foundation.

For more on homelessness in Canada, visit The Homeless Hub at www.homelesshub.ca.

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