Introduction to Housing First for Youth

Youth-Centered Service

Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is a youth-centered service.

As a youth-centered service, the HF4Y approach combines the principles of Housing First with an understanding of the needs of adolescents and young adults from a healthy youth development perspective. This youth-centered focus is important because:

  • Youth face additional barriers to housing due to age discrimination, eligibility criteria for certain assistance programs, legal barriers to rental housing. 
  • Youth can fall between the child and adult serving systems. Transition age youth may be too old to access children’s services but too young for the adult system.
  • Youth may be disadvantaged by systems that prioritize need by length of time in homelessness (chronicity) or severity of their situation (acuity).

In practical terms, youth-centered service means:

  • Establishing trust and treating young people with respect and dignity.
  • Supporting young people to identify and set goals, develop creative solutions to their problems and help them follow through.
  • Referring young people to services of their choice and helping them to navigate those services.
  • Advocating and modeling self-advocacy for young people in a service system environment.
  • Promoting ethical behaviour and anti-discriminatory practice that treats participants, family, and staff with dignity and respect.