The Housing Again Bulletin, sponsored by Raising the Roof as a partner in Housing Again.
A monthly electronic bulletin highlighting what people are doing to put housing back on the public agenda across Canada and around the world, sponsored by Raising the Roof as part of the Housing Again partnership.
News for September, 2010
Feature: Research Says Youth-specific Programs Ideal
The Social Planning, Policy, and Program Administration in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo has released a new report entitled Promising Principles and Practices in Housing Options for Youth Experiencing Homelessness in Waterloo Region.
The purpose of the report was to investigate current youth-specific services and housing options for youth 12 to 24 years of age experiencing homelessness in Waterloo Region. The report summarizes six promising principles and practices for service providers to reference and consider in the development of new programs or for improving current programs.
The research strongly indicates that strategies and programs that work well with youth at-risk of or experiencing homelessness are “youth-specific,” tailored to meet the unique developmental changes and needs during this life stage.
The recommendations take into consideration current research, local strengths, gaps and priorities, guided by the following principles:
• Plan to end homelessness through a focus on building and maintaining housing stability.
• While there is a need for emergency shelter services, use resources to strengthen existing services, rather than investing resources to create new emergency shelters.
• Adopt a “Housing First” approach for people experiencing homelessness: Consider housing as the top priority rather than services to address any pre-existing issues.
• Build greater capacity in longer term housing stability programs; and
• Tailor approaches to degrees of homelessness; focus initial efforts on ending persistent homelessness.
The recommendations include strategies that address the following areas:
1. Providing a continuum of accessible supports
2. Establishing trusting relationships with youth
3. Adopting a low demand approach to housing stability programs
4. Linking education, income, and housing supports
5. Providing opportunities for youth engagement
6. Promoting collaboration between agencies
In addition to the report, the Members of the Youth Housing Coordinating Group (YHSCG) is creating a resource guide of youth-specific services for youth experiencing homelessness in the region. The guide will help in their plan to strengthen existing membership and increase collaboration with appropriate agencies within and outside of the housing stability system.
Community Spotlight: YOU Making a Difference with Youth in London
In this fifth year of Eva's Initiatives Award for Innovation, three winners were recognized for their exceptional work with homeless youth, which have already been profiled in Housing Again. Choosing just three winners was a difficult task as all of the nominees do outstanding work. One of those nominees, Youth Opportunities Unlimited (YOU), is a London-based organization which uses an integrated model so that at-risk youth can successfully develop their skills and meet their goals.
Since 1982 Youth Opportunities Unlimited has helped lead youth in London and Middlesex County toward success. Dedicated to “unlocking the potential” of youth, they believe that “investing in youth and strong communities go hand-in-hand.”
Youth Opportunities Unlimited operates:
• Transitional Support Programs - including street outreach, harm reduction, affordable housing, life skills, and community referrals;
• Career Development Programs – including job search skills training, job placement, GED preparation, and employment counselling programs;
• Social Enterprise Programs – business units operated by youth offering hands-on training in a variety of operations; allowing them to gain experience, increase their understanding of business, and develop skills and confidence to support their entry into the labour market.
One of the main initiatives is called “YOU Made It.” This initiative’s purpose is to provide at-risk youth with hands-on experience in a business setting, equipping them with skills that are transferable to a variety of careers. A key goal of the initiative is to create opportunities for youth to build a portfolio of skills and experiences they can draw upon to support their longer term educational and career goals while also gaining confidence and drive to pursue those goals.
YOU operates two manufacturing centres and a recycling service targeted to business customers. The program serves 70 at-risk youth every year. The manufacturing centres produce hand crafted patio furniture and gourmet level jams and preserves. Products are sold at a variety of temporary locations as well as through a permanent kiosk in London’s downtown market. Youth are in leadership positions in all business areas including design, production, sales and distribution.
In their application for an Innovation Award executive director Steve Cordes wrote that the recycling service of YOU Made It has 250 business customers, all of whom are serviced by at-risk youth. Youth are engaged in all aspects of the initiative.
News Briefs: Intact Financial Corporation supports solutions to youth homelessness
Intact Financial Corporation, Canada's largest provider of property and casualty insurance, is partnering with Raising the Roof to support solutions to youth homelessness. In the spring of 2010, Intact became Lead Partner in Raising the Roof's Youthworks initiative through the Intact Foundation. In addition, the corporation has just stepped forward to become a National Partner in Raising the Roof's 2010/2011 Toque Campaign, an annual cross-country fund-and-awareness-raising initiatives that gets underway this fall.
New Report on Precarious Housing in Canada
Precarious Housing in Canada (2010) is a powerful new research and policy report from the Wellesley Institute. Using the most comprehensive and current data, research and analysis, the report sets out a pragmatic, five-point plan targeted to the millions of Canadians who are living in substandard, over-crowded and unaffordable homes, as well those who are living without any housing at all.
International Conference on Homelessness in Montreal
From October 27th to 29th, UQÀM will proudly receive the international conference in Montreal, "Rethinking Homelessness: Theoretical and Methodological Challenges." To submit a proposal, follow this link. A national Forum will also be held regarding intervention issues with homeless persons on October 29th and 30th. This Forum will invite community based organizations, public institutions, and elected representatives from all over Canada to exchange ideas on different important themes. For more information regarding the forum and for the preliminary program follow this link.
Homeless Action Week
At a World Homelessness Forum held in Australia, it was decided that there would be an international Homeless Action Week (HAW) as well as a World Homeless Day (WHD). This year the HAW is Oct 10-16, and the WHD is October 10, 2010. Here’s a link at what the Regional Steering Committee on Homelessness is doing in Vancouver.