Annual Report 2023
Every kid deserves access to a safe home.
To prevent homelessness by helping youth at risk or in crisis transition to a state of safety and stability.
Equity, Diversity & Inclusion
360°kids is committed to building a more equitable, diverse and inclusive environment.
Year in Review Highlights
2022-2023 was a year filled with transition and change and given the lockdowns we faced the prior two years, change was a welcome ally to our programs and services.
Youth served across York Region
Youth served across York Region
life-skills sessions facilitated
youth received direct housing support
in scholarships provided to 18 youth
youth served in gang prevention program
youth participated in our employment programs
youth received counselling support
youth served at Home Base Drop-In Centre
Learn about our 4 Pillars of Support
Addressing youth homelessness requires a comprehensive approach that prioritizes housing stability. While we have observed a decrease in the number of bed-nights compared to the previous year, we have witnessed an increase in the number of youth served through our housing programs.
Our mission-driven strategy, which focuses on prevention, reaching out to young people and their families through outreach programs and counselling helps equip them with the necessary tools and skills to prevent family breakdown. Additionally, we continue to ensure tailored support, offering a range of housing initiatives tailored to meet the needs of young people in different situations. These initiatives include diversion programs like Nightstop, emergency housing through the Connections Program, supportive living programs such as HOPE and SHINE programs, and long-term affordable housing solutions through Transitions. Our ultimate objective is to break the cycle of homelessness and improve housing stability for our young people.
Nightstop is a remarkable community-based volunteer program that has been providing emergency accommodations in the UK for over 30 years. In 2017, 360°kids became the first accredited Nightstop provider in Canada. Our program offers young people a safe and warm home for the night, thanks to our dedicated and vetted community volunteers.
Last year, we focused on re-imagining and enhancing our Nightstop program. The pandemic posed challenges in recruiting and retaining hosts, but with the easing of restrictions, we launched an extensive marketing campaign. We aimed to recruit new host families from diverse backgrounds, ensuring equity and inclusivity. While we have made progress in rebuilding our host roster, we must continue this work to meet the needs of youth in different areas of York Region. Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on mental health, we incorporated Therapeutic Crisis Intervention into our host training. We also emphasized connecting youth to wrap-around services and natural supports, preparing them for long-term success.
Since 2018, Nightstop has successfully prevented 141 young people from experiencing homelessness in York Region. Our vision is to expand this program nationwide, as we strongly believe that when communities come together, everyone benefits, not just the youth in need.
This past year has been particularly emotional for both our staff and the young women we serve at HOPE, a housing program in York Region for survivors of human sex trafficking. We have witnessed significant milestones for two of our youth, such as their first Christmas and the simple joys of hot chocolate on rainy days. These experiences highlight the immense value of our program and shed light on the hardships these young women have endured throughout their lives. It is a true privilege for us to be part of their healing journey, providing them with a safe and supportive environment where they can begin to live their lives free from exploitation. In the past year, we were able to provide wrap-around support to
6 young women in our housing program and 4 more in our community program. Additionally, we co-hosted the first ever Human Trafficking Conference in York Region, which was attended by over 300 individuals. The urgency for holistic support systems for human trafficking victims in York Region cannot be overstated, as survivors often experience profound physical, emotional, and psychological trauma that demands comprehensive assistance.
women were provided support and
opportunities to heal through HOPE
The Transitions program provides affordable housing options for youth in York Region. Through partnerships with the United Way Greater Toronto and the Government of Canada, through Reaching Home: Canada’s Homelessness Strategy we were able to acquire a new home this past year, to expand the number of affordable housing units by 5 to now 17 units of affordable housing.
Our program is designed to support youth over a three-year period, during which we gradually increase their capacity to pay market rent. We also provide resources and support to help them meet their expenses, such as food assistance and access to municipal housing benefits. Additionally, we focus on developing their landlord-tenant relationships skills and we provide life skills training like budgeting. We believe that every young person deserves the opportunity to have a stable and secure living environment. By offering affordable housing and comprehensive support, we are empowering youth to build a foundation for success and achieve their full potential.
safe spaces within our own
Transitions program properties
Youth Success Story
A youth who previously accessed Nightstop, sought services once again after a relationship fallout. They were looking for a safe space to find support and voice grievances without judgement. As they described, Nightstop’s volunteer driver and volunteer hosts provided a welcoming and supportive environment, and the youth expressed gratitude for having the service available on such short notice.
Nightstop proved to be a valuable resource for the youth, as they didn’t have family members they could stay with and preferred not to access a shelter. After the night of placement, the youth returned to their parents’ home feeling better prepared to engage in constructive dialogue.
Employment plays a crucial role in breaking the cycle of homelessness among young people. Our main objective is to provide youth with the necessary skills and resources to achieve financial stability, boost self-esteem, foster personal growth, and cultivate a sense of purpose and belonging.
By addressing the root causes of homelessness, such as financial instability and lack of labour market confidence, we empower youth with employment opportunities that significantly increase their chances of long-term success and independence.
Young people faced numerous obstacles throughout the pandemic, including mental health struggles, difficulties obtaining technology resources and lack of access to employment opportunities. We are proud of the work of the 360°kids staff team, who have redesigned our supports to better cater to the individual needs of our youth.
Although the challenges still persist, we now provide more one-on-one support and counselling assistance with programs, such as Specialized Training for Employment Program (STEP) and
Youth Success Strategy (YSS), helping ensure no young person gets left behind. Looking towards
the future, we are re-imagining our work to better meet the needs of both youth and employers, with expansions in our Every Bite Matters (EBM) program and a continued focus on key certificate training in Base 4 Success (B4S) programs.
EVERY BITE MATTERS (EBM)
Every Bite Matters is an exceptional employment program offered by 360°kids since 2017. It caters to young individuals who are keen on pursuing a career in the food industry. Initially, our 14 week in-person culinary training took place at our Home Base kitchen in Richmond Hill. However, due to the pandemic, in-person training shifted to virtual delivery, participants received grocery cards and shopping lists each week. Despite the challenges of virtual vs in-person, youth built culinary skills and found jobs in community businesses. We are thrilled to announce that in the upcoming year, we will be expanding and enhancing this popular youth program. We are currently working on establishing a dedicated training kitchen in Newmarket, where our participants can continue their learning journey and pave the way for brighter futures.
formal pre-employment workshops conducted
SPECIALIZED TRAINING FOR EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM (STEP)
STEP is a vital program that provides essential employment training and support to youth facing barriers, particularly those who self- identify with mental health challenges. By offering personalized counseling, one-on-one job coaching, and paid work placement opportunities, STEP has the power to create long-lasting positive change in the lives of these young individuals. Our previous three- year funding agreement with Service Canada, which ended on March 31, 2023, saw remarkable results. Out of the 120 participants served, an impressive 78% either secured employment or reengaged with post-secondary education by the end of the funding period. This success has led to STEP being granted a new three-year funding term, enabling us to assist an additional 120 vulnerable youth who self-identify with disabilities, primarily mental health issues.
youth completed an employment program
(Participant of EBM)
“My name is Egor, I’m a former participant of the EBM program, Every Bite Matters, and in this message, I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude for that program. EBM truly helped me when I needed the help the most.
This program allowed me to learn vital skills that will help me later down in my life. From conflict solution and self- management, to certain cooking techniques and different cooking lessons, all of it will find a place in my everyday routine in my life. In addition to that, EBM allowed me to have a financial safety net that has opened many doors for me in my new, independent and self-sufficient life.
My special thanks will go to the three staff who helped me throughout the program. They’re all wonderful human beings that made this program that much more warm, welcoming and special, and I can’t imagine a program without them, and I would definitely keep in touch with them to share the success that they helped to plant seeds of. EBM is definitely a program that gives it all to you so that you can succeed. All you have to do is to give back the same effort to earn that success again.
I can’t thank all of the people involved in the creation of EBM enough, but I will show my gratitude for the success I will have thanks to it.”
STEP – Specialized Training for Employment Program
“The STEP program has been a life changing experience for me. My employment counsellor has been incredible, she listens to what I’d like to work on or improve on. This program has brought up my confidence and makes me feel more prepared and comfortable for interviews or for when I get a job. I would definitely recommend this program. 360°kids is an amazing team and I’m grateful to have this opportunity!”
The COVID-19 pandemic brought significant changes to the education system, and our iGrad program was no exception. iGrad is a partnership program between the York Region District School Board and our Home Base Drop-In Centre in Richmond Hill. Its purpose is to provide a school program for youth to earn credits towards their Ontario Secondary School Diploma.
Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, such as increased isolation and mental health issues, the youth in our program have shown a strong desire to learn. They have taken advantage of our virtual program offerings and wraparound supports to continue their education.
As a result, we have witnessed inspiring stories of resilience and perseverance. This past year we had 8 students successfully achieve their high school diploma, and 21 youth have earned high school credits moving them one step closer to completion. We are incredibly proud of their accomplishments.
youth obtained their High School Diploma
youth earned High School credits
“iGrad’s education was unlike any other. The teacher’s accepting, understanding, and patient nature is exactly what I needed to graduate. I did not believe I had the ability to further my education until I joined this program, and from the moment I met the teacher, she never failed to believe in me. Her unwavering support, attentive guidance, and no-nonsense approach is what I have to thank for being able to say iGrad-uated”
Health & Wellbeing
In response to the pandemic’s impact, our Community Support Teams have reshaped their services for youth, adapting to increased isolation. Although certain teams experienced reduced youth engagement during the pandemic, it’s important to note this wasn’t due to decreased need, but rather heightened isolation. These teams are now prioritizing community presence in remote areas.
youth served by our Drop-in Centres
Our Counseling team, in particular, has witnessed escalating demand, leading to the development of an efficient online booking system via the 360°kids website. Immediate access to counseling sessions, both in-person and virtual, has been crucial, especially for those facing family support challenges, religious constraints, or stigma. This growth underscores the need for identity-based counseling and fostering better family communication.
youth received recreational supports
Moreover, our Richmond Hill Youth Hub is gradually returning to normalcy, providing a supportive space where youth can connect with staff, access essential services, and engage in conversations about programs that empower their growth.
Test out one of our popular youth recipes Lentil Burrito or Butter Chicken Meatballs by scanning the QR code for the full recipes.
Sarah’s StoryRead Sarah's Story
My life, like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, reflects its principles profoundly. As a nursing school graduate, my journey to homelessness was an arduous one, juggling multiple jobs to cover essentials. The mounting workload made it impossible to maintain these jobs, pushing me towards a dire financial situation. As rent prices soared, I found myself couch surfing, struggling to save for my nursing license. Being a visible minority and coming from an immigrant family, I had limited support, exacerbating my predicament.
Despite the challenges, I persevered, but the pandemic further burdened me. A compassionate colleague recognized my situation and encouraged me to seek help, leading me to the 360°kids program. Through their support, I found shelter, steady income through an employment program, and counselling, allowing me to complete and pass my nursing exam. The 360°kids team, including Sam, Lisa, Tahirah, Niloufer, Courtney, Shreefa, Kirk, Laura, and Clovis, have been instrumental in my transformation. Their advocacy and guidance have taught me to stand up for myself and others. I am grateful for the opportunity and hopeful for my future, knowing that my past struggles do not define me.
360°kids programs and services serve as a pivotal step in preventing and alleviating homelessness, empowering individuals like me to embrace a brighter future.
Now, I strive to advocate for others and recognize that no one should endure hardship without a helping hand.
I’ve learned that our purpose is to help others without causing harm. As I continue my journey now fully installed in my nursing career, I remain grateful to the 360°kids staff for believing in me. As Maslow’s hierarchy emphasizes the foundational need for housing, it has become a luxury rather than a basic necessity. 360°kids programs and services serve as a pivotal step in preventing and alleviating homelessness, empowering individuals like me to embrace a brighter future.
In conclusion, my journey has been a testament to the impact of Maslow’s theory on real-life experiences. The 360°kids program’s support has helped me overcome adversity and pursue my dreams. Now, I strive to advocate for others and recognize that no one should endure hardship without a helping hand. Through organizations like 360°kids, we can address the root causes of homelessness and create a brighter future for all.
Our donors, Funders & Volunteers
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our esteemed donors for their unwavering generosity and compassion.
With your help and support, we continue to make a difference in the lives of young people, looking for hope and an opportunity to succeed. THANK YOU!
360°kids would also like to thank donors who made contributions anonymously to support our work.
This past year, we were thankful for our newly developed, multi-faceted partnership with housing developer, Kylemore Communities that will benefit at-risk youth in York Region.