Choices for Youth has taken the lead in bringing together our collective community to mobilize efforts towards the development of a provincial plan to end youth homelessness in NL. As an organization that has been working with the at-risk youth population for 25 years, we are well positioned to bring expertise, rally partners and facilitate dialogue. We do, however, recognize that no single entity can bring about the systemic and fundamental changes needed to end youth homelessness in NL. It is with humility, hope, and a belief in possibility, that we present this report as a collaborative initiative. Our intention is to spark a discussion of the issues, challenges and opportunities relating to youth homelessness that ultimately leads to coordinated action. This is an exciting opportunity for the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to be part of a growing national movement committed to taking a strategic approach to tackling homelessness in Canada.
It is our belief that through careful review of these plans, open dialogue with peers, and a focus on learning, that we can do the same in Newfoundland and Labrador. On December 4th and 5th, 2014, with the support of local and national partners, the first ever Community Planning Institute on Youth Homelessness in Newfoundland and Labrador was held in St. John’s. This institute was an opportunity to learn from communities across the country and to see how we can mobilize our own energies, creativity, resources and political will to ensure that every young person has a safe place to live and a supportive community to care for them.
Following the institute, Choices for Youth hosted a forum on Jun 1, 2015, bringing together senior officials of all three levels of government, service agencies working in the field of homelessness across Canada, groups representing youth and Aboriginal members, post-secondary educational institutions, the business community and other interested persons and organizations. Over 100 people were in attendance. The forum provided a platform for young people who are currently or were previously struggling with homelessness to share their perspectives and add their voice to help inform the path forward.
Since the forum, Choices for Youth has been working with partner agencies to continue to provide transformative programs for at-risk and homeless youth. At this time, we are continuing our call to action for the development of a provincial plan to end youth homelessness. We encourage you to read the report: Towards A Solution, help build awareness, and join us in calling for action.