Our Plan: Homeless No More
The Annapolis Valley’s current response to youth homelessness places much of the emphasis on the emergency response. While emergency responses are important and necessary, we cannot rely on these as the ‘system’ to deal with youth homelessness. The Youth Outreach Program, funded by the Province of Nova Scotia, is based out of the Portal Youth Centre and has been operating for 5 years. The program is relationship based and works with a experienced team of frontline workers from agencies across the Valley. Through that program, youth are engaged but a sustainable solution is still out of reach until the emphasis shifts as described here. Taking a step further, until the community says, “Enough, we need to end youth homelessness”, we will continue to see a “band aid approach”. The strategies presented in the Youth Plan suggest a new way to address youth homelessness that builds on the three existing components. Currently, the response is:
In the Youth Plan: Homeless No More, PREVENTION and HOUSING AND SUPPORTS become a greater priority. Emergency services are provided, with support, to facilitate this shift in The Annapolis Valley’s response. The concepts and priorities were established through community conversations, research, reviews of best practices, and consulting the work of Stephen Gaetz, a nationally recognized and well-respected research authority on youth homelessness in Canada. Principles were also adopted from the success of cities like Medicine Hat and Calgary, Alberta.