Types of Housing Supports
Housing supports in HF4Y programs are needed to assist young people to find and maintain housing. Housing supports include rent supplements, support to find and maintain housing, and help for re-housing if needed.
There are many reasons why financial assistance for housing may be necessary (see Part 1, Who is Homeless?). Youth who are at risk of or currently homeless face many barriers to employment and opportunities to earn a living wage are limited. Rent supplements give youth a chance to focus on long-term goals — they may choose to return to school, attend a mental health or addictions program or enroll in training. Supplements mean that youth ideally are not contributing more than 30% of their income to rent. Program capacity will be limited to the number of rent supplements that can be provided. Overtime, the amount that youth contribute to rent can increase as they are able to pay their own bills and manage their expenses.
Programs will need to dedicate time and energy to building partnerships and networks with landlords to increase the availability of appropriate and affordable housing for youth. This work can be shared among the team or there can be a designated team member who will recruit landlords, real estate agents, affordable housing agencies, and other partners who are willing to support a housing first approach.
HF4Y programs are successful when they nurture relationships with landlords and housing providers. Program staff can build trust by informing landlords about the program and the supports that are provided to young people beyond the rent supplement. Landlords can, and should, be considered as part of the support team. It is important for program staff to set up regular formal or informal meetings with landlords in their community to discuss partnerships.
Landlords can and should be incorporated as much as possible as members of the support team. They need to be trained to contact case managers regarding concerns as well as discuss things with the youth themselves. (Wally Czech, Director of Training, CAEH)
Evictions and Rehousing
Even with support, evictions will happen. Young people may also need to be rehoused if their existing housing isn’t a good fit. Some youth may need to be rehoused several times while in the program. Case managers should continue to engage with clients and continue to provide supports until they are housed again. Organizations should consider adopting a zero discharge into homelessness policy meaning that even if a youth loses their housing and accesses a shelter, their case manager will show up the next morning, continue to support them, and begin the process of rehousing.
- Learn more ways to engage with landlords and establish partnerships in the Landlord Engagement Toolkit.