Ensuring Every Kid Matters

Youth Homelessness:

In Canada, youths aged 13 to 24 constitute about 20% of the homeless population, with a yearly average of 35,000 to 40,000 experiencing some form of homelessness.  Within York Region, the more recent data suggests, approximately 1 in 7 homeless individuals are young people, constituting 14% of the homeless population (1). However, the true scale of this issue may be underestimated due to pandemic-related challenges. Many youths might have avoided shelters due to reduced capacities. This issue is compounded by the fact that around 80% of homeless people in Canada remain uncounted in official tallies, suggesting that the actual number of homeless youths could be significantly higher than reported (2).

The reasons for homelessness in youth are complex, with many factors impacting the “why”.  In terms of demographics, homeless youth in York Region face unique struggles. A significant 27% identify as LGBTQ2S+, far surpassing the typical 5-10% among Canadian youth (3). Conflicts within families related to sexual orientation often contribute to youth homelessness. Moreover, 30.6% of homeless youth in Canada identify as Indigenous, and 28.2% belong to racialize communities, revealing the disproportionate impact on marginalized groups (4).

Adding to the concern, 42% of homeless youth in York Region experienced homelessness for six months or more in the past year, reflecting a persistent issue. These youths encounter additional hurdles, with 58% reporting cognitive or intellectual challenges and 81% grappling with mental health problems. The causes of youth homelessness are diverse, with 62% citing high rent as a factor and 19% pointing to mental health struggles, illustrating the intricate interplay of factors (1).

Alarming trends that impact homelessness, include a notable rise in postsecondary students accessing food banks in 2022, signifying financial difficulties and a potential link between higher education and homelessness.

As for York Region, the figures cast light on the widespread prevalence of youth homelessness in York Region. Addressing this challenge demands comprehensive support systems, affordable housing initiatives, and targeted interventions.

History of 360°kids:

360ºkids began over 33 years ago as two separate agencies that were developed to address the needs of the communities of York Region. The Markham Neighbourhood Support Centre was created to respond to the needs of young families with children who sought support and ways to learn about childrearing. Youth Housing Markham provided safe and supportive housing for youth who could no longer live at home. A volunteer committee worked to create two residential homes that would support 13 homeless youth. These two agencies eventually amalgamated in 1998 to form Pathways for Children, Youth and Families of York Region Inc. The organization continued to offer programs and supports to both families and their children and to homeless and at-risk youth in York Region for 15 more years.

In 2013 the organization was selected to deliver programs and support services to at-risk youth in the new Richmond Hill Hub being built by the Regional Municipality of York in Richmond Hill, Ontario. This new role, along with a variety of other new program initiatives, motivated the organization to change its name to 360°kids. The name 360ºkids refers to the comprehensive approach that the organization takes to assisting at-risk youth and surrounding them with care, recognizing that these kids need a wide range of supports to help them rebuild their lives.

This holistic approach is enshrined in our slogan: Surrounding kids in crisis with care.

360ºkids now serves over 3,500 youth, each year from every municipality in York and this number has grown significantly since our move to the Richmond Hill Hub operating the youth hub and offering even more essential services to youth. Our staff represent many cultures and experiences and have earned a reputation as leaders in offering high quality, innovative programming to the people we serve.




To prevent homelessness by helping youth at risk or in crisis transition to a state of safety and stability.


Every kid has a safe home.



Sources of information:

1. The Regional Municipality of York and United Way Greater Toronto, I Count 2021: York Region’s 2021 Homeless Count, May 2022. https://www.unitedwaygt.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/05/I_Count_2021_A_Profile_of_Homelessness_in_York_Region.pdf
2. The Regional Municipality of York and United Way Greater Toronto, I Count 2018: York Region’s 2018 Homeless Count, April 2019. https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Working%2BTogether%2Bto%2BPrevent%2BReduce%2Band%2BEnd%2BHomelessness%2Bin%2BYork%2BRegion.pdf
3. Abramovich, Alex & Shelton, Jama. 2017. “Introduction: Where are we now?” in Where Am I Going to Go? Intersectional Approaches to Ending LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada & the U.S. by Abramovich, Alex, & Shelton, Jama. (Eds.). Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press, p.2. Available online: http://homelesshub.ca/whereamigoingtogo
4. Homeless Hub, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Queer, Questioning and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S), accessed at http://homelesshub.ca/about-homelessness/population-specific/lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender-transsexual-queer
5. Government of Ontario, A Place to Call Home: Report of the Expert Advisory Panel on Homelessness, 2015. http://www.mah.gov.on.ca/AssetFactory.aspx?did=11038
6. Food Banks Canada, Hunger Count Report 2022, 2022. https://hungercount.foodbankscanada.ca/assets/docs/FoodBanks_HungerCount_EN_2022.pdf
7. Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S. and Schwan, K. (2016). Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press. https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/WithoutAHome-final.pdf
8. A. Noble, J.Donaldson, S. Gaetz, S. Mirza, I. Coplan, D. Fleischer (2014): Finding Home: Youth Homelessness in York Region. Toronto: The Homeless Hub Press.

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