Addressing LGBT2SQ youth homelessness in Toronto has been a core concern since SOY’s inception in 1998. Staff creatively worked on finding safer housing solutions to address the over-representation of LGBT2SQ+ youth in Toronto’s youth homelessness population.
In 2004 SOY began its partnership with St. Clare’s Multi-Faith Housing Society to address LGBT2SQ youth homelessness through stable housing, a connection to community, and one-on-one support.
Given the challenging landscape of housing in Toronto and the negative impacts on newcomer and racialized youth, many or most of the youth housed through our program are racialized and/or newcomers.
An independent living housing model
As we celebrate our 20th anniversary and evolve to meet the ever-changing needs for safer, supportive housing, SOY’s housing partnership with St. Clare’s has evolved into an independent living housing model. This means that our Youth Resource Workers, SOY Facilitators, St. Clare’s partners and SOY/Sherbourne Health’s communities work with youth while they build upon their knowledge, skills and relationships so they can transition into independent living on their own terms.
Together, we provide:
- 20 rent-geared-to-income (RGI) units of housing, available to LGBT2SQ Youth 27 years old and under to apply for when units become available. (The length of the program is up to three years, or up until someone’s 30th birthday—whichever comes first.)
- Support so that LGBT2SQ youth can work on their other self-identified life goals, such as: navigating immigration and settlement; finding income; pursuing education; looking for work; exploring career goals; exploring gender and sexuality; navigating familial relationships; defining their health and wellness; and growing as people.
How SOY’s groups and the Goal-Planning Service (GPS) can help with housing
Through our community health and well-being groups and our Goal-Planning Service (GPS), we support youth to be able to care for themselves and each other. Our programs and services:
- provide targeted workshops around specific goals and skills that SOY youth have named for themselves;
- help youth build an understanding, skill set and resiliency around relationship and community building as well as self-advocacy—this includes the actual building of working social connections; and
- connect youth with Sherbourne Health programs and service providers, e.g. mental health and clinical teams, and external agencies and service providers, such as shelters, employment programs, legal supports, and more.
For more information
For more information please contact Premal Laxman, Youth Resource Worker, SOY’s Internal Housing Program, at firstname.lastname@example.org.