Innovative transitional housing considered for GTA Aboriginal youths


TORONTO, May 7, 2013 – Experts and others who are working to address the youth homelessness issue in York Region and rest of the Greater Toronto Area will come together to take a closer look at an Edmonton pilot project to provide formerly homeless Aboriginal youth support services for independent living, to determine its viability for the GTA, May 8.

Integrated housing model for Aboriginal youth – Foyers for youth organized through the bands is the fifth event in a seven-part learning series organized jointly by York University and United Way York Region.

“The Horizontal Pilot Project incorporates an innovative transitional housing support model called Foyer, to build resilience in youth who have been homeless in the past and keep them from returning to the same situation,” says Susan McGee, chief executive of Homeward Trust, which applies the model in Housing First programs in Calgary and Edmonton.

Homeward Trust is helping the Canadian Homelessness Research Network (CHRN) to develop and implement the Horizontal Pilot Project, funded by the Human Resources and Skills Development Canada and its Homeless Partnering Strategy.

“The Edmonton program will offer a range of supports to formerly homeless youth — primarily of Aboriginal heritage — living in private dwellings and short-term housing projects, through the Foyer model,” adds McGee, who will talk about all aspects of the model as part of her keynote speech at the fifth event in “Responding to Youth Homelessness: A systems Approach Learning Series.”

“It is interesting to observe how Edmonton is addressing Aboriginal youth homelessness, and Homeward Trust is clearly a leader in Canada in engaging Aboriginal communities in finding solutions to homelessness. Their adaptation of the Foyer model is an example of how they continue to think outside the box and create real and sustainable results,” says York University Professor Stephen Gaetz, who is also the director of CHRN.

 WHAT: Youth Homelessness Learning Series, session 5: Integrated housing model for Aboriginal Youth – Foyers for youth organized through the bands

WHO: Susan McGee, Homeward Trust, Edmonton

WHERE: Markham Convergence Centre, 7271 Warden Avenue, Markham

WHEN: Wednesday, May 8, 2013, 1:00-3:00pm

NOTE: This session is also available as live streamed webinar.

 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.

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: moving people from poverty to possibility, helping kids be all they can be, and building healthy people and strong communities.

Media Contacts:
Gloria Suhasini, York University Media Relations, 416 736 2100 ext. 22094,

Adriana Suppa, Director, Communications, United Way York Region, 905 474 9974 ext. 358