Each year, there are at least 35,000-40,000 youth experiencing homelessness in Canada.
In cities such as Toronto, Black youth are overrepresented in homeless shelters and transitional homes and face higher rates of housing insecurity and barriers to accessing long term housing due to the legacy of colonialism and anti-Black racism.
YOUth Belong is an inter-dependent living program for Black youth experiencing homelessness or precarious living.
Developed by Eva’s Initiative, in partnership with the City of Toronto, Raising the Roof and additional community partners, the program centres the identity and intersectionality of Black youth, while housing young people in community-based, inter-dependent scattered housing and Eva’s managed properties across the city.
YOUth Belong anchors Black youth in their cultural identity by providing connections with culturally relevant community partners. These organizations, work to support Black young people in their ability to successfully navigate the complex systems that they encounter, including, education, criminal justice, healthcare and child welfare.
The mandate of the YOUth Belong project is to provide Black youth leaving Eva’s shelters with the lifelong skills and capacity to effectively navigate the systems that they will connect with daily, while rooting them in their communities and multi-faceted identities.