What We Do


Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab

Reimagining the Response to Youth Homelessness Through Social Innovation

Launched in April 2017, the goal of the Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab project is 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 First, Youth Reconnect and Housing First for Youth, Housing First for Youth Exiting Care, and Housing First for Indigenous Youth will take 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 will be 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.

Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (YHSIL)

Phase One also marks the launch of the Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, part of Making the Shift. The purpose of the YHSIL is the research and evaluation of the demonstration projects, developing tools and resources to support other communities and knowledge mobilization to ensure these models of prevention take root at the policy and practice levels.

Negotiations are already underway for additional project phases.

For updates on the Making the Shift project:

“Homeless youth are amongst the most vulnerable and marginalized populations who face substantial barriers to education and employment. Assisting Canada’s youth is a priority. A Way Home: Working Together to End Youth Homelessness in Canada’s project is a concrete example of what we can achieve for youth by working in partnership with organizations across the country. Projects like this can give our youth the chance to change their future.”
– Adam Vaughan, Member of Parliament for Spadina-Fort York

“Through a unique partnership with the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness (York University), MaRS Centre for Impact Investing, two provinces and dozens of community partners, the Making the Shift project will ensure that young people at risk of or currently experiencing homelessness achieve housing stability and have natural supports such as family that are essential as they receive support to stay in school or access training and employment.”
– Melanie Redman, Executive Director, A Way Home Canada

“This project will not only enable over a thousand homeless youth to access education and employment, but will provide us with a much stronger evidence base about how to prevent youth homelessness and support young people who do experience homelessness to exit this situation. It’s all about helping young people in a tough situation to move forward in their lives in a way that promotes wellness and the chance to succeed.”
– Stephen Gaetz, Professor, York University and Director, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

The Government of Canada will provide approximately $7,991,944 in funding for this project through the Skills Link program, supporting projects that provide hands-on work experience, job search assistance and skills upgrading resources for youth facing barriers to employment.

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The views expressed on this website are those of the A Way Home coalition and do not necessarily reflect those of the individual organizations.