PROJECTS

Research Projects Supported
by Making the Shift

Both funded research projects and demonstration projects showcase the power of collaboration between researchers and practitioners in identifying innovative, impactful, and comprehensive solutions to youth homelessness.

Active Projects
Listed Alphabetically

A National Study of Tertiary Prevention Models for Youth Exiting Homelessness

Project description
This project uses a multiple case study design, systematic reviews, and a rigorous knowledge exchange strategy to articulate the service models of the most promising housing stabilization approaches and to build capacity in the sector.

Impact
The project aims to generate more effective services for youth exiting homelessness and inform system and policy leaders about evidence-driven approaches to stabilizing post-homelessness trajectories across diverse Canadian contexts.

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Ai’aoskiikowaata (Providing Guidance to Youth): Supporting Healthy Transitions from Government Care to Independent Living

Project description
This research employs two studies to investigate youth’s experiences of transitioning out of government care in three southern Alberta locations. The first study gathers young adults’ first-hand knowledge of exiting care through a multi-media storytelling project. The second surveys Indigenous and non-Indigenous young adults on their care experiences, exposure to traditional culture, and current life outcomes.

Impact
The project can inform legislators and knowledge users about the protective factors associated with culturally-appropriate resources; prevention and support strategies for Indigenous youth; service and programming gaps; and the relationship between youths’ experiences in care and life quality as measured by housing status and the social determinants of health.

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Co-Creating a Data and Knowledge Roadmap to Support Youth Homelessness Research, Operations, and Policy in Canada

Project description
This project seeks to co-create a roadmap for data and knowledge infrastructure to support youth homelessness research, operations, and policy with a diverse and experienced team of stakeholders.

Impact
The roadmap aims to improve data and research collaboration in the sector, by enabling timely access to data insights and facilitate improved operations for coordinated service delivery and research collaboration.

Decolonizing Transitions from Care for Indigenous Youth

Project description
This project will follow the experience of youth entering an Indigenous housing initiative that provides support with daily living, access to Elders, and other cultural supports. The research seeks to understand how an Indigenous-led program can reduce homelessness by addressing youth’s overall spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

Impact
The project will identify and assess housing models designed to address the needs of Indigenous youth transitioning out of care in Canada; co-create a decolonized approach to youth housing programming and youth research; and create a research network around preventing Urban Indigenous Youth Homelessness.

Endaayaang, an Indigenous Adaptation of Housing First for Youth

Project description
This project synthesizes current literature on Indigenous youth homelessness services and evaluates the Endaayaang program, an Indigenous adaptation of HF4Y. It will create a culturally-based Indigenous housing model and evaluation framework.

Impact
The project contributes to understanding of Indigenous youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Canada and will create a culturally-based Indigenous housing model and evaluation framework.

EQUIP Housing: Enacting Culturally Safe Housing Stability for Indigenous Youth Finding Home

Project description
This project will explore the value of the EQUIP model in preventing and ending Indigenous youth homelessness. By engaging Indigenous research and participatory implementation methods, it will test an evidence-informed model of equity-oriented approaches in order to prevent homelessness and support sustained exits to housing.

Impact
This project adapts an equity-oriented model from primary health care to homelessness prevention and response in order to transform service delivery and remove barriers for Indigenous youth.

Establishing and Mitigating Youth Housing Stability in Response to COVID-19: Engaging with the BC Interior

Project description
This research reviews youth homelessness services in the lead up to and during COVID-19, as well as the subjective experiences of youth at risk of homelessness during this time.

Impact
The project will inform planning for the recovery period following COVID-19 and planning for future public health emergencies.

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Evaluating Family and Natural Supports

Project description
This project aims to understand how chosen supports, improved self-esteem, and increasing communication can minimize a youth’s involvement with the shelter system using an outcomes evaluation. Due to the systemic and personal changes occurring from the COVID-19 pandemic, the research team has modified their research to capture how the pandemic has impacted youth and their relationships.

Impact
The findings from this project will help frontline and management staff improve the delivery, structure, and practice of the programs, in addition to meeting the needs of youth who have been impacted negatively by COVID-19.

Evaluating Youth Reconnect

Project description
This project aims to understand how chosen supports, improved self-esteem, and increasing communication can minimize a youth’s involvement with the shelter system using an outcomes evaluation. Due to the systemic and personal changes occurring from the COVID-19 pandemic, the research team has modified their research to capture how the pandemic has impacted youth and their relationships.

Impact
The findings from this project will help frontline and management staff improve the delivery, structure, and practice of the programs, in addition to meeting the needs of youth who have been impacted negatively by COVID-19.

Examining the Effectiveness of an Integrated Housing, Mental Health, and Addiction Service Model for Youth Experiencing Homelessness

Project description
This research tests the effectiveness of an integrated intervention tailored to better meet the housing, mental health, and addiction service needs of youth experiencing homelessness and concurrent disorders using an outcome and process evaluation.

Impact
The project addresses a significant knowledge gap concerning solutions to better meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness.

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Exploring Frameworks and Processes for Tracking and Monitoring Service and Housing Wait Times Relevant to the Prevention and Exit from Youth Homelessness​

Project description
This project aims to analyze waitlists and wait times of social services to identify sectors requiring systems change and recognize patterns of systemic inequity, helping to improve systems integration – an important element of prevention.

Impact
The project aims to improve the sectors’ understanding of wait times relevant in the prevention of youth homelessness, as well as provide comparative insights that can be used for policy, advocacy, research, and service delivery to enhance systems integration and coordination.

First Nations Interventions

Project description
This project explores how First Nations youth at risk of or with lived experience of homelessness are affected by and negotiating the Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, it will ask how schools, organizations, and communities continue to provide land-based learning and cultural programming to First Nations youth during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Impact
The project will document these experiences and provide strategies and recommendations for First Nations youth that can be used during the recovery period.

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Free 2 Be: Housing First for Youth Leaving Care

Project description
This project uses a randomized controlled trial design to test and evaluate (process and outcomes) the effectiveness of Housing First for Youth as a preventive intervention for young people (ages 17-24) who are transitioning or have already transitioned out of the child welfare system.

Impact
The project will yield policy and program relevant evidence about what service interventions achieve the best results for this particular population of young people known to be at high risk of experiencing homelessness.

Housing First for Youth Ottawa

Project description
This project uses a Randomized Controlled Trial design to test and evaluate (process and outcomes) the effectiveness of applying the Housing First for Youth approach to support young people (ages 17-24) experiencing homelessness without complex needs to exit homelessness and promote improved social and health outcomes.

Impact
The project will yield policy and program relevant evidence about what service interventions achieve the best results for this particular population of young people experiencing homelessness.

Improving Frontend User Experiences by Mapping the Backend Architecture: A Cross-Sectoral Data and Infrastructure Audit

Project description
This project aims to produce and mobilize descriptive and analytical knowledge, to support the youth homelessness sector in developing cross-sectoral, rights-based data interventions and infrastructure that prioritizes youth homelessness prevention.​

Impact
The project aims to develop open-access data asset maps and data quality assessment reports for stakeholders to adapt for their prevention needs.

Looking South (and Slightly North-East) for School-based Prevention Ideas

Project description
This project will systematically investigate and synthesize school-based prevention efforts in Australia, Wales, and the U.S., as well as implementing and evaluating a youth created, school-based prevention-focused workshop for teachers and education students in Canada.

Impact
The project aims to provide concrete strategies to transform the Canadian educational policy landscape towards effectively integrating school-based prevention of youth homelessness.

On the Move: A Mixed Methods Study of Indigenous and Non-Indigenous Homelessness and Migration in Northeastern Ontario

Project description
This project generates new knowledge about appropriate strategies for detecting risk, intervening early, and supporting sustainable exits from homelessness amongst Indigenous and non-Indigenous (Francophone and Anglophone) youth in urban, rural, and remote communities of Northeastern Ontario (NEO).

Impact
The project will illuminate vulnerability and protective factors for various subgroups based on gender, sexual orientation, age, and migration/mobility.

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One House Many Nations: A Community First Approach to Address Homelessness Amongst First Nation Youth

Project description
Youth living on-reserve with lived experience or who are at risk of homelessness join a team that designs and builds a new home in their community. The research will characterize the nature and causes of homelessness amongst First Nation youth; assess the impacts of this Indigenous community-led approach to homelessness on the housing trajectories of First Nation youth living on-reserve; and support adaptation and mobilization of this approach in other First Nations.

Impact
This Indigenous-led, culturally-grounded, and community-first collaboration will build both community capacity and the capacity of individual First Nation youth who participate in the project.

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Opportunities for Innovation: Indigenous Youth Coping With Homelessness During the Covid-19 Pandemic in the Kenora Region

Project description
This research project centres Indigenous youth voices in describing unique challenges and coping in the Kenora region of Northwestern Ontario regarding homelessness amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically analyzes health and well-being impacts related to service delivery modifications and/or disruptions as a result of a pandemic.

Impact
The project will document these experiences and provide specific strategies for Indigenous youth in the Kenora region to use during the recovery period.

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Making the Prevention Shift in Québec: Prévention Itinérance Jeunesse

Project description
This project will synthesize what is currently known about pathways leading to youth homelessness in Québec; apprehend promising early intervention and prevention practices; mobilize local knowledge (practice, policy, theory) on the prevention of youth homelessness; and identify research, practice, and policy priorities, with the overall goal of developing a provincial prevention framework.

Impact
The project will produce a made-in-Québec prevention framework and action plan that will be carried forward by collaborators and youth.

Making the Shift Youth Homelessness Shelter Diversion Study

Project description
This is a longitudinal, multi-site research project, that aims to assess key aspects of shelter diversion programs in five Canadian communities (Calgary, Niagara, Guelph, Cambridge, Peterborough). ​This is the first study of its kind in Canada to explore different approaches to shelter diversion, an essential prevention strategy.

Impact
The project aims to generate real-world strategies for changes to organizational policies and practices for shelters and other service providers; and develop an evidence-based service model for shelter diversion.

Preventing Discharge to No Fixed Address – Youth

Project description
Building upon several successful initiatives with adults, this project will make housing and financial resources more accessible to youth admitted to inpatient wards at London Health Sciences Centre and St. Joseph’s Health Care London – Parkwood Institute Mental Health.

Impact
The project will contribute to the understanding of youth’s risks of homelessness, their unique challenges, and how factors such as quality of life and health and social service use correlate to housing stability.

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Preventing Youth Homelessness: A Life Journey Approach using Linked Multi-sector Administrative Data and Community Engagement

Project description
This project aims to use existing surveys and administrative data from various sectors to examine risk and protective factors linked to youth homelessness in Manitoba. ​

Impact
The project aims to develop a methodology that examines the intergenerational impact of homelessness, as well as uncover insights related to youth homelessness life course trends.

Responding to Youth Homelessness in the Midst of a Pandemic: Shifting to Collaborative, Prevention-based Services in a Large Urban Setting

Amanda Noble, University of Toronto and Covenant House

Project description
This project seeks to understand the impact of COVID-19 on youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto’s downtown shelter system, including among youth that moved to a hotel and those that remained in shelter.

Impact
Recommendations to permanently shift towards a prevention-based response will be developed.

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The Impacts Of COVID-19 On LGBTQ2S Youth At-Risk Of, And Experiencing, Homelessness

Project description
This study engages a group of LGBTQ2S youth at-risk of and experiencing homelessness to understand their specific challenges, coping strategies, and mental health responses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Impact
Evidence-based recommendations will be produced for the development and improvement of programs and targeted responses aimed at preventing and addressing LGBTQ2S youth homelessness during the pandemic.

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Upstream Canada: A Collective Impact Approach to Scaling Youth Homelessness Prevention

Project description
This research seeks to understand how Upstream Canada, an innovative approach to addressing youth homelessness and school disengagement, can be sustainably scaled.

Impact
Better understanding of what conditions impede and facilitate the social innovation process will inform systems change towards more equitable opportunities and outcomes for youth at risk of homelessness.

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Understanding Young Women’s Experiences of Loneliness and Isolation During Covid-19 and Beyond: Participatory Research to Envision a Way Forward

Project description
This research explores how loneliness and isolation that occurs before, during, and after the COVID-19 pandemic impacts young women-identifying people’s housing stabilization.

Impact
The project will inform planning for the recovery period following COVID-19 and planning for future public health emergencies.

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Using Administrative Data to Understand and Provide Effective Responses to Youth Homelessness

Project description
This project relies on a very large administrative datasets (Statistics Canada and Calgary Police Services) to identify the size and nature of the problem of youth homelessness. Specifically, the project looks at the patterns and intensity of emergency shelter use by youth, identifying which youth are most likely to succeed in Housing First programs, and determining the differential impacts of program interventions on Indigenous youth.

Impact
The project provides a unique opportunity to accurately measure details of how government policy and institutional program design, as well as family financial conditions, play a role in shaping and ending youth homelessness.

Using Health and Community Data to Prevent Youth Homelessness​

Project description
This project will use a merged health and emergency shelter dataset for Calgary to develop data science tools to better support vulnerable youth that interact with these systems. ​

Impact
The project seeks to visualize system interactions and support predictive tools that can be used to identify at risk individuals.​

Youth Homelessness Data Infrastructure (YHDI)

Project description
This project aims to build the first Youth Homelessness Data Infrastructure (YHDI) in Québec, by compiling a sub-corpus partly based on the longitudinal study of the transition of a cohort of youth in care data, forming a comparative group of youth at risk of homelessness, and integrating clinical-administrative data regarding health, work and education. ​

Impact
The project aims to generate new knowledge to support the prevention of homelessness among vulnerable youth in Québec through linking administrative data related to health, work and education.

Youth Transition from Child Welfare to Precarious Living Conditions: A Mixed Methods Longitudinal Study of Risk and Protective Factors in Nova Scotia

Project description
This study follows a large cohort of young people through the transition from Child Welfare Services in Nova Scotia to identify the psychological, institutional, social, educational, and political/policy aspects of young people’s lives that put them at risk of homelessness and those that enhance their resilience, including housing stability and engagement in school or work.

Impact
The project will uncover effective strategies that prevent youth aging out of care from becoming precariously housed or homelessness and will serve as a pilot that other provinces and territories can replicate.

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