What is Youthworks?

About Youthworks

This national initiative is aimed at helping to solve youth homelessness.
Why the focus on youth?  It’s simple. We believe that the best way to prevent long-term homelessness is to address the issue when people are young.

Some of the highlights/outcomes of our work so far:

  • Youth Homelessness in Canada: The Road to Solutions (2009)—a national research report based largely on the experiences of 700 homeless, at-risk and unemployed youth in Calgary, Toronto and St. John’s, plus input from youth-serving agencies, policy makers and researchers from across Canada.

Key conclusions:

•    The path out of homelessness is built upon a foundation of stable arrangements for affordable, supportive housing and education, training and employment
•    Youth caught up in the cycle of homelessness require reliable and uninterrupted support services to address an often complex array of issues
•    Stability is critical if youth are to be allowed to fail, learn from their mistakes and try again.

Click below to read the full or summary version of the report.




  • It’s Everybody’s Business: Engaging the Private Sector in Solutions to Youth Homelessness (2012) – following on our earlier work around youth homelessness, this national report examines the pivotal role employers can play in helping disadvantaged youth succeed.

This report, together with our Youth Employment Toolkit, lend inspiration and practical help to employers and community agencies wanting to create new job opportunities for homeless and at-risk youth in their communities.

The issue of homelessness affects everyone in society – morally, socially, and economically – therefore, genuine solutions require action in a cross-section of society, including the private sector. Homelessness is, indeed, “everybody’s business”.

We hope to help bring about changes in attitude and practice within the private sector and help pave the way for new employment opportunities for at-risk and homeless youth across Canada. 


The report and toolkit

Click below to read the full or summary version of the report and view the Youth Employment Toolkit:




Youth Employment Toolkit



Turning research into action with Community Activation Project

Thanks to the continuing generous support of Intact Foundation in our Youthworks Private Sector Engagement, Community Activation Project, we are taking this work to the next level. Working with several community agencies across Canada, we will apply our research to create more
employment opportunities for local at-risk and homeless youth.

The goal? – to generate models that other communities can adopt and adapt.

We’ll post regular progess updates here.  If you’d like to get twice-yearly updates on this and other Raising the Roof initiatives, sign up for our News Update.