Introduction to Housing First for Youth

About the Training

The first part of this 3-part training series on Housing First for Youth begins with an exploration of current practices to address youth homelessness. The Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) program model was developed in response to research showing that traditional homelessness interventions have not been effective for youth.  As a program for youth who are at risk or experiencing homelessness, or as part of a broader youth homelessness prevention strategy, HF4Y is a promising practice that can be adapted to suit community needs. The HF4Y core principles and rights-based, youth-centered philosophy can be applied to provide access to housing and sustain exits from homelessness for youth. Participants will explore youth pathways into homelessness in order to better understand how a youth-oriented response to homelessness can be implemented.


I. What is Housing First for Youth

  • Shift from Crisis to Prevention
  • Who is Homeless?
  • What Works for Youth?

II. Core Principles of HF4Y

  • A Right to Housing with No Preconditions
  • Youth Choice, Youth Voice and Self-determination
  • Positive Youth Development and Wellness Orientation
  • Social Inclusion and Community Integration
  • Putting HF4Y Core Principles into Practice

III. HF4Y Philosophy and Program Model of HF4Y

  • HF4Y Philosophy
  • Rights-based Approach
  • Youth-centered Service
  • HF4Y Adaptations for Specific Populations


This training was co-developed by Karen Bosworth (Canadian Observatory on Homelessness), Heidi Walter (A Way Home Canada) and April Xie (Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab).

The contributions across the eight Making the Shift Demonstration Lab (MtS DEMS) sites and other key community partners have been significant in shaping this training. We would like to thank the following: MtS Demonstration partners, Stephen Gaetz, Meryl Borato, and Chad Story. To the staff of COH/AWHC/MtS Inc who reviewed early versions of this training and provided technical editing, we would also like to thank them for their support.