OTF grant helps YES Shelter study a shelter alternative for youth in Peterborough
Peterborough, ON: On Thursday, MPP Dave Smith had the chance to hear from staff at the YES Shelter for Youth and Families about the impact that a $75,000 Seed grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation has had with its Host Homes Programs. The grant, awarded in 2019, but delayed over COVID-19, is allowing the agency to research the feasibility of a Host Homes Program, which places a young person, experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, in a safe, home-like environment while they repair their relationship with natural supports or enact a viable plan to live successfully on their own. It is an effective way to prevent a young person from experiencing the trauma that can come with homelessness and support them through the cause of their housing instability.
“This grant of $75,000 has allowed the YES Shelter for Youth to continue supporting youth and families and addressing youth homelessness. The funding from this Seed grant has a great impact for their clients, providing safety and security in an unpleasant position.” MPP Dave Smith said. “It has been said that it takes a village to raise a child and the YES Shelter and other community partners have been able to lessen the burden on these youth by providing a safe shelter and other supports they need.” MPP Smith added.
The YES Shelter for Youth and Families has been funded by OTF to research and pilot a Host Homes Program in Peterborough. Youth homelessness has decreased with the expansion of YES’ RISE Youth Housing Program, which provides supported housing to young people who would otherwise be homeless. But there are still consistently approximately 50 youth experiencing homelessness in Peterborough at any given time. This program is a way to prevent young people from entering the shelter system in Peterborough, and ensuring they have access to the community supports that can help them. Typical causes of youth homelessness can include family conflict, poverty, and family rejection due to gender identity or sexual orientation.
“There are currently very few supports in place for young people who need to leave home prematurely to maintain their safety and wellbeing,” said Aimeé Le Lagadec, Executive Director of the YES Shelter for Youth and Families. “This program connects community members with the ability to keep youth safe while they access supports, continue going to school, and avoid having to worry about their survival on the streets.”
The project includes visiting and researching similar programs in Ontario, hiring youth with lived experience of homelessness to inform the process and program, engaging at least one Host Home Family and supporting one to five young people in the design stage of the program. The goal of the project will be to form an idea of whether or not a Host Home Program is a good fit for Peterborough City and County.