StepStones’ Homeless Prevention Program assists youth in securing safe and stable housing using a client-centred, housing-first approach. Youth transitioning from care are connected to a long-term volunteer mentor and a youth worker for support. Housing subsidies are provided through the Children’s Aid Foundation’s Home Base Fund as well as Pelletier. These subsidies, combined with a housing worker and a mentor, provide the needed support for our youth to become housed and stable.

In addition, the Safe at Home program mitigates the risks of homelessness due to COVID-19 by securing stable housing and guardianship for youth from foster care. Workers identify natural support people with whom youth have had pre-existing relationships, including kin and community members, and determine who may be in a position to provide a long-term housing solution. Workers provide intensive support to facilitate the transition.

StepStones’ Healthy Living Program responds to the mental health needs of youth leaving care. Youth are connected with a counsellor and physician to stabilize mental health and for medical intervention when necessary. Youth are supported in attending appointments, accessing meditation programs, and acquiring Dialectical Behaviour Therapy and mobile psychotherapy as needed.

Supporting Our Youth

Our workers help youth find a safe place to live, secure a job, finish high school, apply for post-secondary and trade schools, get medical attention and mental health care. Initially, our workers offer intense, one-to-one support with the youth to help stabilize their life. Once settled, a mentor volunteer can connect with the youth to establish a trusting relationship and develop life skills.

Over the course of their involvement, our staff and volunteers work together and adjust the youth’s support as needed.  For example, a youth who has just lost stable housing may temporarily need more intense support from our staff.

Youth who qualify for this program do not have support from their caregivers. They are often estranged from their birth, adoptive or kinship caregivers and lack any supportive adults in their life. Some of the youth struggle with mental health, substance abuse and/or homelessness and many youth have significant concerns with self esteem and behaviour.

See our 2020 Impact Report for more details.

This staff-volunteer partnership with each youth is what makes us unique. Studies show that when agencies combine the support of both a long-term volunteer mentor and a skilled worker, youth are able to make lasting changes. StepStones offers both mentors and workers in order to sustain the longevity of the relationship with youth at risk.  Otherwise, this relationship often breaks down and long term support is not realized.

Youth in this program can also access a drop-in centre, a food and clothing bank, ongoing tutoring, scholarships, monthly workshops and holiday celebrations as part of our program.

Our Youth Support Services are offered in partnership with Arrabon House. For more information, call 416-893-5196.

This program is supported by: