CAMH’s Dr. Sean Kidd spent a year with young people who had recently exited homelessness. What he learned concerned him; 25 per cent were soon street homeless again, with the majority of others stalled with unstable lives, major mental illness and trauma.
That’s why he is leading the Toronto Housing Outreach Program Collaborative, a project with a number of youth-focused organizations that has led to improvements in housing, education and employment in this population. This intervention supports young people as they transition from homelessness to housing in hopes they’ll escape homelessness permanently and flourish.
“We very deeply listened to what young people said, and they told us they needed a combination of outreach case management, peer support and mental health support – offered in community settings rather than shelters.” says Dr. Kidd.
The resulting model is now being tested with Indigenous youth in Thunder Bay through a collaboration with Indigenous services, and a “for youth, by youth” guide for exiting homelessness is being tested in Thunder Bay and Managua, Nicaragua.