Family and Natural Supports


The Family and Natural Supports (FNS) approach begins with the idea that relationships are the basis of a person’s sense of self and well-being, which in turn provides the foundation for a person to thrive. For most young people, there is at least one adult – maybe a parent, grandparent, aunt/uncle, sibling, neighbour, teacher, tutor, Elder – who is important and cares about them. Working with an individual's family and community can be instrumental in changing the individual's sense of community, support network, and even housing status. While it is sometimes complicated work, family and natural supports can make all the difference in an individual's journey out of homelessness or prevention of homelessness.

The following resources provide the basics of working with families to enhance networks. 

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Check out these recent articles, too!

Blog post: Belonging is Greater than Isolation: The Toronto FNS Program. Covenant House, 2020. Written by Travis Major. 

Blog post: Using Family and Natural Supports Principles in the Justice System: Edmonton’s Youth Diversion Program. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, 2020. Written by Meryl Borato.

Blog post: Re-thinking Family in the Context of Homeless Youth. Horizons for Youth, 2019. 

Blog post: Lesson Learned from Doing FNS Work during a Pandemic. Making the Shift, 2020.  

Article: Investing in Youth by Investing in Their Families and Natural Supports: Shelter Diversion Using a Family and Natural Supports Approach. Boys and Girls Club Calgary in Parity Magazine, 2019.

Article: Enhancing Family and Natural Supports (EFNS) Demonstration Project. Making the Shift, 2017.

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