Preventing and Ending Youth Homelessness Together

We are a youth-driven coalition working to prevent and end youth homelessness in Ottawa through strategic community planning.

In July 2015, a group of youth agencies came together with the desire to build a more integrated system of support for young people who are homeless in Ottawa – A Way Home Ottawa was born. This early group became the Steering Committee leading the process and consists of youth serving agencies including shelters, drop-ins, school, hospitals, the City and others.

Convened by the Alliance to End Homelessness, A Way Home Ottawa hired a Project Manager and began working in October 2015 to lay the groundwork to build a community strategy for ending youth homelessness.

A Way Home Ottawa is generously funded by United Way Ottawa, with support from the Catherine Donnelly Foundation.

Why Youth homelessness?

Ending adult homelessness means ending youth homelessness.

One of the greatest predictors of chronic adult homelessness is experiencing homelessness as a young person.

Without safe housing, young people struggle to go to school, work, or have stable, healthy relationships.

We can do better.

A Way Home Ottawa is focused on ending youth homelessness because we believe in the potential of young people to thrive in our community when they are safe and supported.

How Are We Doing This?

Youth Engagement & Leadership

  • Young people with lived experience are driving the development of our work.

  • We have hired a team of Youth Liaisons and they co-chair our meetings, facilitate planning, and weigh in on all pieces of A Way Home Ottawa’s work.


  • We spent a year hearing from youth and agencies in the sector about what works and what we need to change to improve the system. Read our findings here.

  • Following this, we realized there are key subpopulations of young people who are overrepresented in homelessness. We launched another consultation with these groups hiring young people with lived experience to conduct the research. 

  • It is a priority to stay plugged into what young people are saying. We do this by hosting consultations, doing “listening tours” of drop-ins and shelters, along with our ongoing research efforts.

Community Systems Planning

  • We are working together as a coalition to figure out where we already align our work and how we can further coordinate the work that we do.

  • Youth homelessness involves more than just the housing & homelessness sector. We are working with partners from the variety of systems that intersect with youth homelessness. These include:

    • Child Welfare System

    • Healthcare

    • Schools

    • Corrections

What Have We Done?

Year One:

  • Youth Engagement!

    • Hired a team of 7 Youth Liaisons as co-leaders

    • Ongoing consultations with youth

  • Comprehensive Research & Consultation Process

    • The Opportunity Project: Telling A New Story About Youth Homelessness in Ottawa

    • Public Launch of report at City Hall featuring Push for Change’s Joe Roberts

Year Two:

  • Making the Shift

    • National Housing First for Youth Demonstration Project development & launch with community partners and A Way Home Canada.

  • The Upstream Project

    • Working to implement a school-based risk assessment tool to prevent young people from entering crisis.

  • Provincial Youth Labs

    • Youth Liaisons consulted by the Provincial Ministry of Housing.

Year Three:

  • Ongoing Community Systems Planning with Stakeholders

  • Spoke at Provincial Symposium on Youth Homelessness Panel

  • Coming Up Together Conference on Youth Homelessness