The Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS) program of research has been developed based on the belief that there are realistic and practical solutions to youth homelessness, and that communities can achieve this end when informed by credible evidence and supported by appropriate policy and funding frameworks.

Our agenda is driven by the need to address the challenges that communities and governments across Canada face in terms of how to respond to persistent youth homelessness. Communities can implement effective strategies and interventions that produce better outcomes when informed by credible evidence and supported by appropriate policy and funding frameworks. Our research themes will build evidence for these strategies and interventions.

The MtS research program is guided by five intersecting research themes designed to most effectively achieve MtS’ mandate.

Two core themes

Makeup the foundation of the project, that is: (1) shifting to prevention through early intervention, and (2) sustaining successful exits from homelessness.

Three crosscutting themes

Support the core tenants: (3) enabling health, well-being and inclusion; (4) enhancing outcomes for Indigenous youth; and (5) leveraging data and technology to drive policy and practices.

Within each theme there are 4-5 sub-themes noted, which allows for subject-specific insights from academic and community experts, including people with lived experience of youth homelessness.

By engaging an intersecting research framework, MtS will identify what prevention programs, policies, and interventions should be pursued, who they should engage, and in which contexts they are likely to be effective, thereby providing solutions to reduce the life-long health, social, and economic burdens of youth homelessness.

“We need to enhance our understanding of what works, why it works, for whom and in what contexts. To do this, we will collaborate with community partners, all levels of government and, most importantly, people who have firsthand experience of youth homelessness.”

Stephen Gaetz • Scientific Director, Making the Shift