All youth are welcome at Eva’s, and we are committed to creating spaces, programs and relationships where youth can benefit and learn from our culturally responsive and trauma-informed approach.
Our front-line team uses anti-Black racism and anti-oppression lenses to centre the needs and experiences of youth experiencing homelessness, with intentional emphasis placed on serving Black youth who have been historically and continually underserved and marginalized across the social services spectrum.
Eva’s provides shelter, transitional housing, and programming to help young people experiencing homelessness build brighter futures.
Temporary hotel shelter providing emergency and longer-term housing in response to COVID-19 physical distancing protocols.
Transitional housing and employment training facility providing skills and support for employment, education, and housing.
Community-based housing for Black youth. Helping young people build skills while developing roots in their communities.
The program operates in scattered housing and Eva’s managed properties.
Our Namesake and Founder, Eva Smith
Our organization’s innovative approach to supporting youth experiencing homelessness started with our founder, Eva Maud Smith. Her legacy remains central to the work we do today.
Eva Maud Smith (1923-1993) was a Jamaican immigrant and Black community leader whose heart was drawn to our city’s young people, particularly those experiencing homelessness. Her trailblazing advocacy resulted in the opening of Eva’s Place in 1994.
How Eva’s Prevents and Reduces Youth Homelessness:
- Employment Training in high-demand fields, including print and digital communications, conducted on-site at our social enterprise Print Shop
- Educational Support to help youth access opportunities and achieve academic success (e.g. high school diploma, post-secondary studies)
- Independent Living Program that provides critical skill-building to help youth find and maintain housing and their health (e.g. cooking, financial literacy, conflict resolution)
- Harm reduction supports that help young people dealing with addictions and mental health concerns find safety, acceptance, and improved health
- Recreation Program that provides physical activity opportunities and engagement in sports, health and wellness, and arts and culture
Eva’s Guiding Principles
What works for youth changes over time and youth we work with need tailored approaches that meet their diverse needs. Rooted in a history of innovation, Eva’s is committed to growing our own knowledge and finding out how we can do better. We embrace continuous learning to improve our practice and change the status quo, grounded in social consciousness and critical self-reflection.
Structurally, Eva’s will come into our own as a “learning organization”. We will build on our strengths and dedicate the leadership and resources we need to develop and evaluate effective approaches to reach our goals. We will foster a trusting, empathetic environment and a workplace culture marked by curiosity, constructive criticism, and creativity. In the end, we don’t know all the answers, but we can humbly learn from the lived experiences of youth, our own successes and challenges, and the broader evidence base to become the best we can be and share that knowledge with our community partners.
Young people are centered at Eva’s as human beings with inalienable human rights. Eva’s not only aims to provide excellent resources and programs tailored to young people’s developmental, cultural, and individual needs, but we also want to bolster their selfdetermination, efficacy, self-advocacy, and strengths.
We challenge ourselves to shed institutional mindsets and take joy in the opportunity we have to assist youth on their journeys. We want to become a place where young people have the space to lead the organization’s direction, the support to become partners in service delivery, and the voices to hold us accountable for how resources are used for their benefit.
For young people to move in from the margins and gain a sense of true belonging requires healthy relationships rooted in trust, transparency, empathy, fairness, consistent and appropriate boundaries, strong conflict resolution, and strengths-based communication.
Eva’s will do all we can to help youth grow healthy relationships with us and their families, neighbours, peers, colleagues, and communities. Knowing that young people look up to us, we will model healthy relationships ourselves and structure our environment and approach to enable relationship-building success.
Homelessness is a symptom of social injustices. Ultimately, the only way to end it is to get at its root causes and take on our all-encompassing responsibility to foster social justice.
Eva’s will support our team to pursue equitable outcomes through anti-oppressive, intersectional service approaches and we will be an organization that is reflective of the diverse communities we serve. We will challenge systemic barriers and power imbalances impacting youth and we will avoid unwittingly perpetuating an unfair status quo. Eva’s will do all we can to ensure that young people not only have access basic survival resources but can actualize their rights and are treated with dignity and respect. We will make every effort to practice justice in the way we function as an organization.
Show young people you believe in them.
You can help young people experiencing homelessness start the journey toward brighter futures.