Why Black Youth Housing and How You Can Help!
The issue of youth homelessness requires immediate action and collective endeavours. In York Region, the over-representation of Black youth facing homelessness has prompted a collaborative effort between 360°kids, community leaders, and organizations committed to serving the, African, Black and Caribbean communities. Together, we are seeking improved strategies for prevention and intervention in meeting the specific challenges and needs of Black youth. Currently, and with our partners, 360°kids is developing a culturally specific solution identity and is conducting research, in collaboration with LogicalOutcomes to identify the specific elements needed for a successful model of support. The research will help explore the challenges and barriers faced by Black youth and will provide insight into a comprehensive solution.
Affordable housing plays a pivotal role in preventing youth homelessness. Discrimination in housing is a real issue for young people and especially youth who are Black. By addressing this fundamental need through an equity-informed, culturally and identity responsive approach, we can create a foundation for stability and growth that works toward breaking the cycle of homelessness. Such an approach recognizes the unique challenges faced by African, Caribbean and Black youth when trying to access housing.
This collaborative effort in York Region aims to implement an identity-based model, that goes beyond simply providing the “bricks and mortar” but will incorporate culturally relevant supports tailored to address specific barriers and gaps faced by Black youth. This is an intersectional equity-informed intervention approach that acknowledges the importance of addressing the root causes of homelessness and fostering an environment where Black youth can thrive in community.
The initiative was launched in July 2023, when 360°kids collaborated with agencies and community leaders to host information sessions aimed at creating greater awareness and interest in contributing their insights into the project. The sessions were attended by youth, families, agencies, and the wider community to contribute their perspectives on the proposed model. Notably, key governmental representatives attended the session and expressed their support and interest in understanding the specific challenges faced by Black youth across intersections of marginalization, especially in the housing and shelter systems, and finding effective ways to address them holistically.
The proposed housing model is just one of the many solutions required to address the needs of the African, Black, and Caribbean communities. In order, to shape this model effectively, it is crucial to have full support and engagement from agencies and service providers serving the African, Black, and Caribbean communities. These agencies can provide valuable insights into the barriers, challenges, and issues faced by youth. Equally important, the model needs input from Black youth who have experienced homelessness or housing instability to ensure the crafted solution is responsive, inclusive, and ideally healing-centred.
Affordable housing is a crucial element in preventing youth homelessness and this initiative in York Region exemplifies a targeted, equity-informed, intersectional, and community-driven approach. By addressing the unique challenges faced by Black youth through an identity-based housing model, we take a step closer to breaking the cycle of homelessness and creating a society where every young person of any and all marginalized identities has the opportunity to thrive.
- If you are an agency supporting the African, Black or Caribbean community and want to provide your insights, please contact the Research Lead Investigator Neil Price firstname.lastname@example.org
- If you know of a Black youth or are an, African, Black or Caribbean youth aged 16-34, who has experienced homelessness or housing insecurity in the Greater Toronto Area within the last 5 years, please contact Lead Investigator Neil Price email@example.com
This research initiative is being managed by LogicalOutcomes, a Canadian-registered non-profit, with a mission to build organizational evaluation and learning capacity. The lead investigator is Neil Price, learn more at https://www.logicaloutcomes.net/lo-team
Participation in this study is entirely voluntary. Participants can choose to withdraw at any time or not answer questions.
SEE Poster for full details: Agency Participation
See Poster for Full Details: Participant Recruitment
Want to read more about 360°kids and Housing, take a look at our previous blogs and media releases:
- Newmarket Today article on the initial initiative of Identity Based Housing
- Bridging the gap: The need for affordable housing to address homelessness in Canada
- Bringing Affordable Housing Home: United Way Toronto in collaboration with non-profit sector partners, developing a plan to tackle homelessness
- Read about Eva’s Approach to Black youth community housing initiatives