How This Canadian City is Curbing Youth Homelessness

And why this work is especially important in the face of a pandemic

Why It Matters

Affordable housing was one of the top issues on young people’s minds in the last federal election — even before COVID-19 highlighted the intense vulnerability people who are homeless face. As housing becomes less affordable in mid-size and major cities across the country, there’s a need to strategize how to prevent youth homelessness, both during the crisis and afterward. Our third story in partnership with United Way Centraide Canada.

When Brandon’s landlord did not renew his lease, he found himself homeless. At age 24, Brandon* spent months couch surfing and staying with friends in Kingston, Ontario, joining the estimated 50,000 Canadians who are considered “hidden homeless.”

Brandon was in and out of school, had insecure and short-term work, and struggled to juggle appointments for apartment viewings across the city while taking public transport or walking.

“It was one of the toughest times on my mental health. I was completely drained from being turned down [from housing] over and over again… It was really overwhelming,” he shares.

This wasn’t Brandon’s first time experiencing homelessness. As a teenager, he was homeless for six months,

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