Spaces for youth in need
Since 1989, oneROOF Youth Services has been committed to providing for the safety, support, and overall well-being of youth who are homeless or at-risk, aged 12-25, in Waterloo Region. Our objective is to maintain the health and safety of this vulnerable population by providing resources and services that will allow them to make positive choices to end the cycle of homelessness. oneROOF Youth Services’ programs and supports enable youth to transition toward independence at their own pace. Our purpose is to walk alongside these vulnerable youth, offering guidance, compassion, and advocacy.
oneROOF Youth Services exists and aims:
- To maintain the health and safety of youth experiencing or at-risk of homelessness
- To support and enable youth to get off the streets by providing resources and services needed to inform and educate
- To educate the public regarding homelessness, street life and related issues
- To carry out prevention work targeted at youth, particularly those at junior and senior high school levels
- To provide an opportunity for youth to gain access to medical attention and treatment
oneROOF Youth Services offers a range of supports, from case management to emergency shelter. We meet youth where they are at and work toward finding safe spaces to accommodate the diversity of needs that they have.
In this effort, we recently began a Host Homes initiative, a prevention and diversion program where youth who are at risk of becoming homeless, are offered a secure room and board space in a home within the community.
In April 2018, oneROOF Youth Services received funding from the Local Poverty Reduction Fund. This funding is earmarked to develop and implement the Host Homes program; a program that we believe is a necessary first step along the continuum of homelessness. Over the next 3 years, Host Homes staff will work with local community members who have an extra room in their home, and are willing to work with us to facilitate short-term, supported stays for lower acuity youth. All participants are carefully vetted before placements can occur, with stays lasting an estimated 30-60 days.
To accommodate costs associated with hosting a young person, Host Homes providers will receive monetary compensation. Host Home households will also receive extensive training. This includes the opportunity to become certified in Nonviolent Crisis Intervention, which is provided by a oneROOF Youth Services onsite instructor.
For youth, this secure space is invaluable; many lower acuity young people who must use the emergency shelter system, report feeling threatened, vulnerable and alone. Host Homes offers preventative options that may well decrease long-term and/or chronic homelessness. More importantly, it offers youth an opportunity to continue following a healthy life path and/or begin a new one.
We have an event coming up!
On December 3rd, we will welcome York Region’s Raising the Roof, and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness to explore the successes of Host Homes model, and how the program caters to youth who are at risk of homelessness. Register for the event here!