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.