Inspiring Local Communities: Toolkits for Developing Innovative Models of Housing and Support for Homeless Youth


Funding Program:

Home Depot Canada Foundation

Funding Amount:


Project Website:

As communities across Canada move toward more permanent and effective solutions to youth homeless, there is a growing need for information about age appropriate models of accommodation and support that can be adapted and applied in communities across Canada. There are existing examples of such models, however there is virtually no information available to help communities learn from and adapt these innovative models to the local context. This project will develop web-based toolkits that allow communities to learn about and apply knowledge from innovative practices such as: Train for Trades/The Lily Building Project in St. John’s, Newfoundland, and the Hub and Spoke Foyer operated by Covenant House in Toronto, Ontario.

Both of these programs are effective and can be adapted and implemented in virtually any community in Canada. However, communities lack key details regarding the organization and implementation of these programs. Key questions include:

  • How does the community participate in such an enterprise?;
  • How do I engage trades in this work?;
  • What is an effective approach to transitional housing?;
  • How do we bring private landlords on board?

The goal of the toolkit project is to help communities build local capacity to design and implement effective models of accommodation and support based on successful models found in the country. Key objectives of the work are:

  • To conduct research on the Train for Trades and the Foyer model to better understand how they work;
  • To develop useable toolkit content that is easy to understand and addresses key questions that communities will have about program design and implementation;
  • To develop web-based resources (accessible documents, videos, checklists, etc.) that lay out the tools necessary for communities to get to work;
  • To plan and implement a marketing and communications strategy to ensure that communities become aware of these resources and have easy access to them;
  • To nurture a partnership model that allows for effective planning and implementation of the toolkit project, including partnering with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (The Homeless Hub), Home Depot, Covenant House, Choices for Youth, Raising the Roof, and Eva’s Initiative.

This toolkit project represents a unique opportunity to draw on emerging knowledge about what works in addressing youth homelessness.