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Webinar: Innovation and Partnerships in Youth Homelessness

September 26, 2017


What does innovation concerning youth homelessness look like and what's required to achieve it? Steve Gaetz, Melanie Redman and Ayon Shahed will present new ideas and models for changing the landscape of services and support systems for homeless youth. Starting with what youth homelessness looks like in Canada, the webinar will highlight a housing first framework for youth.

Launched in April 2017, the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, showcases how this work can be accelerated in communities across Canada. The project aims to ensure that young people have housing stability as well as family and other supports to stay in school or access training and employment. In the first two years of the project (Phase One), demonstration projects on Family and Natural Supports Program, Youth Reconnect and Housing First for Youth, Housing First for Youth Exiting Care, and Housing First for Indigenous Youth are taking place in 10 Canadian cities: Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Calgary, Edmonton, Medicine Hat, Lethbridge, Red Deer, Grande Prairie and Fort McMurray. Over 1,300 youth and their families will participate. The project is delivered by a partnership between A Way Home Canada, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, two provinces (Ontario and Alberta), and dozens of community partners.

Since January 2017, Choices for Youth in Newfoundland & Labrador, have been mobilizing around a new Social Innovation Project that seeks to demonstrate how these innovations can be applied to support programs for transformative outcomes and intergenerational impact. Specifically, this part of the webinar will explore how social enterprise and a family focused approach can be embedded as critical components of the support provided to at-risk and homeless youth. The project will work with 490 youth, helping them achieve stability in family life, mental health, education, employment and housing.


  • Melanie Redman, Executive Director, A Way Home
  • Ayon Shahed, Director of Strategic Development, Choices for Youth
  • Stephen Gaetz, Director, Canadian Observatory on Homelessness & Professor, Faculty of Education at York University