Housing Support Workers for Vancouver Street Youth

Partners

Federal:
Public Health Agency of Canada
Community:
Directions Youth Services Centre, Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV), Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, City of Vancouver
Provincial:
Ministry of Children and Family Development

Location

Vancouver, British Columbia

Duration

2008/07/01 – 2009/01/01

Focus Areas

Youth

Objective

This project tested whether providing housing supports and pre-employment training to street youth increased their ability to secure and maintain housing, while preventing and reducing the incidence of homelessness and involvement in criminal activities.

Project Summary

HPS funding was used to provide youth with a range of housing supports at the Directions Youth Services Centre, such as assistance in securing housing, referrals to drug and alcohol services, and help with developing interpersonal and life skills. In addition, youth were provided with the opportunity to participate in the Street Youth Job Action (SYJA) program, administered by FSGV. SYJA is a social enterprise initiative intended to assist homeless or at-risk youth with pre-employment training through flexible casual, temporary and part-time work opportunities. Ministry of Community and Family Development funding was provided to Directions Youth Services Centre as part of its general operating budget.

Project Results

Results indicated that the youth involved benefited greatly from frequent contact with youth workers in a program designed to assist them with all aspects of day-to-day life. A total of 154 youth (33 female and 121 male) aged 19-24 were served by the project. At the end of the program, youth were given the opportunity to identify gaps in services and suggest services which would help them secure housing and develop skills. As a result, 36% identified lack of affordable housing as the major barrier to securing housing, 24% identified the lack of support as their major challenge, and 56% identified the lack of personal identification as an additional barrier to securing housing. Results showed that programs for this population group are successful when the services offered fit well with what the clients are looking for, and that when given the opportunity to access meaningful services, delivered in an accessible way, youth are readily able to take advantage of them.

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