Beginning my role as a housing worker I was not sure what to expect. However, since there is a great structure in place for youth to achieve their housing goals, the journey made my transition much easier.
The intake process begins with :
1) Filling out an online referral form by youth or agencies and directly submit it to a 360° kids housing worker.
2) Once we have received the referral, we are able to get a sense of the youth’s situation based on the series of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ questions on the referral form.
3) At this stage I would make my initial point of contact with the youth by phone. This phone call is generally to inform the youth of their options, whether through 360 kids housing programs or market rent.
I have found from my own experience that many youth who are looking for stable housing options would gain a lot from participating in our programs, but the hard part is convincing them of the benefits. I have spent a lot of time trying to paint a picture in the youth’s mind of what living in our programs would look like. Having access to the staff, different programs and supports through the agency is always guaranteed to provide them with the life skills needed to eventually live independently and successfully.
It is often a huge feat to find affordable housing options in the York Region and securing a room, basement or place to rent with a low budget is extremely challenging. One of the biggest barriers I have faced with the youth and agencies alike is that they truly believe we, as housing workers, have a magic tool that provides us with a list of affordable, available housing in York Region. This is simply not the case. Some youth are receiving government assistance and are very open about the fact that they are not planning on going back to school or are looking for a job. Despite that, they may have unrealistic standards of living which can be hard for them to come to terms with. It is not only difficult to find a place that lives up to the youth’s standard but also to find a landlord who wants to rent their space out to a youth receiving minimal income and job security.
On the other side of the coin, there are youth who are excited to live in our programs and begin the intake process.. Many of those youth are able to gain the life skills they need to slowly move towards independent living, and it is so nice to see. Providing stable housing in the community to someone who doesn’t have it, whatever their situation may be, is definitely a very rewarding and humbling feeling.