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Research Forum provides new perspective on ways to end youth homelessness in York Region

November 26, 2012, Markham, ON – A systems approach is needed to respond to youth homelessness in York Region and Canada. This was the message at today’s research forum: Re-Imagining Our Response to Youth Homelessness: A Canadian and Global Perspective, organized by United Way York Region and York University at the Markham Convergence Centre.

“A multi-sectoral approach is necessary. Non-profit organizations, universities, governments and other key stakeholders have to work together to end youth homelessness and move forward with one clear vision,” said keynote speaker Stephen Gaetz, York University professor and director of the Canadian Homelessness Research Network. “We need to reconsider our response to youth homelessness and shift our focus away from an emphasis emergency supports towards prevention and rapid rehousing.”

Representatives from a variety of sectors gathered at the Markham Convergence Centre to talk about an effective response to youth homelessness in York Region and Canada.

“We see this event as a great opportunity to invite people to think differently about youth homelessness and learn from other jurisdictions,” said Jane Wedlock, Knowledge Mobilization Officer, United Way York Region. “And we can consider whether we might explore some of these different approaches.”

Examples were drawn from different Canadian provinces and other countries that have undertaken some innovative approaches to addressing youth homelessness. 

This research forum was organized by United Way York Region in partnership with York University’s Knowledge Mobilization Unit through a one year Public Outreach Grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC). 

United Way York Region serves nine municipalities: Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan, Whitchurch-Stouffville. In addition to its traditional role of supporting agencies to meet urgent needs, United Way is working to tackle the root causes of social issues. To help strengthen York Region’s quality of life, United Way is uniting people and resources on three priorities: helping kids be all they can be, moving people from poverty to possibility and building healthy people and strong communities.

York University is helping to shape the global thinkers and thinking that will define tomorrow. York’s unwavering commitment to excellence reflects a rich diversity of perspectives and a strong sense of social responsibility that sets us apart. A York U degree empowers graduates to thrive in the world and achieve their life goals through a rigorous academic foundation balanced by real-world experiential education. As a globally recognized research centre, York is fully engaged in the critical discussions that lead to innovative solutions to the most pressing local and global social challenges. York’s 11 faculties and 28 research centres are thinking bigger, broader and more globally, partnering with 288 leading universities worldwide. York's community is strong − 55,000 students, 7,000 faculty and staff, and more than 250,000 alumni.

Media contacts:
Gloria Suhasini
York University Media Relations
suhasini@yorku.ca
Tel. 416 736 2100 ext. 22094

Adriana Suppa
Director, Communications
United Way York Region
asuppa@uwyr.on.ca
Tel. 905 4749974