Housing First for Youth Service Delivery Model

III. Adaptations of HF4Y


HF4Y programs are in place in Canada and around the world. You will explore how the model has been adapted for specific populations and ways that the program can be implemented in different communities and contexts.

Learning objectives
  • Describe how HF4Y can be adapted for priority populations
  • List examples of programs delivering HF4Y in various context

In the first part of this section, you reviewed specifications of the HF4Y program model and learned how organizations can be flexible in how they design and develop HF4Y programs based on the unique needs in the community. In addition, there are situations and contexts where it makes sense to further adapt the program.  In this lesson, you will explore some different ways that the HF4Y program has been adapted for specific populations around the world.

Priority Populations

Housing First programs typically prioritize chronically homeless adults, particularly those with complex needs due to mental health and addictions issues. This method can overlook specific sub-populations in need of housing and supports (young women, youth who are sex trafficked, Indigenous youth, 2SLGBTQIA+ youth). An equity-based approach suggests that HF4Y can and should be adapted to meet the needs of priority populations.

Below are some examples of programs targeting priority populations are:

  • Sprott House, Toronto (2SLGBTQIA+ homeless youth)
  • Friends of Ruby (2SLGBTQIA+homeless youth)
  • Endaayaang HF4Y (Indigenous youth)

There may also be young people with no history of homelessness who are nonetheless at risk due to their particular circumstances. Some examples include young people who:

  • Have weak or absent family and natural supports.
  • Disengaged from school 
  • Are experiencing serious mental health and/or addictions problems with little supports in place.
  • Are forced to work in unsafe conditions (including being sex trafficked).
  • Have disabling conditions that affect decision-making and judgment, such as FASD, brain injury or a developmental delay. 
  • Have experienced high levels of adverse and traumatic experiences, including physical, sexual and emotional abuse and neglect.
  • Have been released from institutional care (child protection, corrections/juvenile justice, inpatient mental health care) without a plan, housing or supports.
  • Are single parents or pregnant youth
  • Are quite young.