The YOUth Belong program reached its capacity in the summer of 2021 supporting Black youth experiencing homelessness or precarious living. Staff help young people build the skills and capacity to effectively navigate the systems they will connect with daily, while developing roots in their communities and intersectional identities. YOUth Belong provides youth with access to their own housing in a community setting with 24-hour staff support. The program operates in both scattered housing and Eva’s managed properties across the city. Youth can participate in the program for up to four years.
This program was designed to help address the structural and systemic barriers Black youth experience when attempting to find stable housing in the city of Toronto:
- As a result of a lack of affordable and safe housing for Black youth, they are over-represented in homeless shelters and transitional homes.
- As a result of a legacy of colonialism and anti-Black racism, Black youth experience higher rates of housing insecurity and barriers to accessing long-term housing.
- As a result of structural inequities, youth are impacted by multiple systems of oppression across different sectors (e.g., health care, justice, education, employment, etc.).