Diverting Youth from Shelters:
Raising the Roof is working to prevent homelessness across Canada. Shelter diversion programs are an excellent way to contribute to this initiative. Two of our programs focus on diverting youth homelessness from shelters: Host Homes and Nightstop. Host Homes is located in Halton Region, Ontario, and Nightstop is located in York Region.
Though these programs are run differently, they both focus on having volunteer hosts that belong within the community. The volunteer hosts provide a safe and comfortable place to stay for youth at risk of homelessness. To do so, they provide a bedroom, healthy meals, and access to laundry facilities for the youth.
At the same time, with the help of the respective organizations, the youth works toward the goal of a successful return home, when safe to do so, or a successful transition to more permanent housing.
Raising the Roof is working closely with Bridging the Gap who orchestrates the Host Homes program in both urban and rural communities. Bridging the Gap is unique in that it is a youth housing focused agency hosted by the local Children’s Aid Society chapter. In this program, youth spend anywhere between six months to two years in the host home.
Raising the Roof has received funding from HPS-ISH (Homelessness Partnering Strategy – Innovative Solutions to Homelessness) to evaluate the program and to develop a toolkit for other organizations in different regions to develop their own Host Homes programs. We hope to show the proof of concept for this model in both an urban and rural context.
Right in the New Year 2019, we launched our Online Toolkit. This online platform aims to support existing and soon to be Host Homes Programs across Canada. Information is available whether you are a youth in need of housing, a host willing to open your home, or a community organization wanting to start a new Host Homes Program.
Raising the Roof is also working with 360Kids who organize the Nightstop program in suburban and rural communities. Youth stay in Nightstop for up to three weeks on a night-by-night basis and can be placed in a new home every night depending on host schedules. Nightstop is accredited by Depaul UK who has been successfully running Nightstop in the UK for 30 years.
Raising the Roof’s role with Nightstop is to evaluate the program, show proof of concept, and help 360Kids develop a model that allows for youth to continue in the program for longer than three weeks (Nightstop Plus or Supportive Lodging).