With local support from United Way Ottawa, and national support from A Way Home, local community partners are coming together in an unprecedented fashion to prevent and end youth homelessness in Ottawa.
Convened by the Alliance to End Homelessness Ottawa, the local initiative is focused on developing and implementing a plan that ensures a strong, coordinated community of support for youth 16-25. “Over 900 youth accessed an emergency shelter in Ottawa in 2014. Hundreds more find precarious shelter elsewhere,” noted Mike Bulthuis, Executive Director, Alliance to End Homelessness. “Working as a whole community, and bringing together governments, organizations, young people, interested individuals and businesses, we know we can enhance prevention efforts and identify the housing options and youth-focused supports youth need.”
Community partners, including over a dozen youth-serving agencies, are working together to enhance a coordinated approach – further supporting the overall vision of Ottawa’s 10-year housing plan. A community planning workshop takes place October 30, with a plan to be completed within a year.
The Alliance is supported by A Way Home, a new national coalition of six national organizations that have come together to commit to one bold goal: putting an end to youth homelessness in Canada. With a focus on prevention, A Way Home – being launched in Ottawa on October 29 – will support communities to develop effective plans, integrate local services, and engage with government to align strategies at the national, provincial and community level.
“If we are really going to address youth homelessness in Canada we have to do things very differently,” added Dr. Stephen Gaetz, Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. “We have to move from ‘managing’ the problem, to instead shift the focus to prevention and moving young people out of homelessness as quickly as possible. For the first time in Canada, I feel that there is a real chance for change, and A Way Home is going to be leading the way …”
Media are invited to a launch event, co-hosted by the Alliance to End Homelessness and A Way Home, taking place outdoors on the Waller Street Mall on October 29th, 2015, at 10:30 a.m. Media will have the opportunity to hear snapshots of the experience of homelessness from a young person with lived experience, as well as further information on these initiatives from key national and local spokespersons.
About A Way Home
The work of A Way Home will inspire and enable communities and governments to organize, plan, and implement strategies to address youth homelessness in a coordinated, measurable and impactful way.
For more information, visit www.AWayHome.ca