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Making The Shift Inc.—a Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab - MtS

$17.9 million for 2019-25
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Making The Shift Inc.—a Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab

York University, Toronto, Ontario

Partnership & Implementation Director
Melanie Redman Melanie Redman

Scientific Director
Stephen Gaetz Stephen Gaetz

Board Chair
Elizabeth McIsaacElizabeth McIsaac
President of Maytree

Shifting from management to prevention of youth homelessness

The opportunity

Youth homelessness is a seemingly intractable problem in Canada. Over the course of a year there are between 35,000–40,000 young people between the ages of 13–24 who experience homelessness, and on a given night at least 6,000. The current approach to addressing the problem, which typically involves relying on ad hoc emergency services and time-limited support, unfortunately leaves young people vulnerable and exposed to further trauma, criminal exploitation, poor health and social and economic exclusion. While we know much about the causes and conditions of youth homelessness, we know much less about how to prevent it, and how to produce better outcomes for youth who have experienced homelessness.

How MtS is seizing the opportunity

Making the Shift Inc.—A Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab (MtS) is a partnership of research networks and centres that will transform how we respond to youth homelessness in Canada. MtS will affect a shift from the ad hoc response to youth homelessness—centred on emergency services and time-limited support—to a strategic and coordinated system that prioritizes the prevention and ending of youth homelessness. Leveraging the strengths of lead partners, the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness at York University and A Way Home Canada, MtS’ vision is to establish Canada as the world leader in research regarding effective solutions to youth homelessness, in order to transform practice, policy and systems planning that will create better outcomes for young people.

Among the expected results

  • Enable data and evidence-driven strategies that result in a measurable reduction in the number of young people experiencing homelessness, reducing costs.
  • Foster community-level cross systems partnerships, coordinated systems of care and adopt effective interventions designed to support the shift to preventing youth homelessness.
  • Allow public systems to more effectively direct limited resources, and enable greater labour force participation by youth in the long term.
  • Build a more equitable society that enables marginalized youth (including Indigenous, LGBTQ2 and racial minority youth) the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

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