“Every young person should have people in their life that they can count on unconditionally and interdependently. Youth in care need to feel that they belong, have worth and are valuable members of their communities”
EQUITABLE STANDARDS FOR TRANSITIONS TO ADULTHOOD FOR YOUTH IN CARE – Pillar 4
Creating and maintaining strong bonds with others is a key component in resiliency as an adult, but it requires trust. Youth in and from foster care often struggle with building and maintaining relationships due to childhood experiences of abuse, neglect, and/or abandonment. Stigmatization can cause youth to withhold their experiences in the foster care system, preventing connections with other youth who have shared life experiences.
In the principles of Housing First for Youth, healthy relationships are addressed under both “positive youth development,” and “social inclusion and community integration.” Programs that offer these individualised and youth-driven supports are what is often referred to as “wrap-around” programming, which builds a net around youth so they can safely heal, learn, and grow.
At Threshold, supporting youth to build and maintain strong community relationships is a key priority. In support of that we are launching a new program called “Family and Natural Supports” (FNS). This program acts as an early intervention to prevent youth homelessness by helping youth build, restore, or maintain relationships with extended and primary family, or other important self-identified natural supports.
In addition to the FNS program, Threshold Housing Society also has ongoing outreach programs available to those currently living in Threshold housing as well as those on the waitlist.
Outreach programs include:
- Youth Engagement Liaisons who walk alongside youth from pre-housing support (waitlist), through the spectrum of housing and eventual graduation, always with an eye to other community supports within and outside of Threshold. These support workers help youth build healthy relationships with complex community systems including banks, government, post-secondary, landlords, and employers;
- Pre-housing Services that allow every youth on Threshold’s waitlist to access the supports offered to youth living in our homes, mainly supported by our small and mighty Intake Team;
- An Indigenous Wellness Advocate who meets with youth in the community (both in housing and on the waitlist) to help resource new supportive connections and maintain existing networks, particularly in connecting or reconnecting Indigenous youth to culturally relevant learning, support and activities;
- In-house clinical counselor providing quarterly group sessions addressing relationships, with topics such as healthy relationships, boundary setting, and queering relationships; and
- Youth workshops in conjunction with community resources including Greater Victoria Art Gallery (hand on art creation), Indigenous Elders (drum making, and Coast Capital Savings (financial literacy).
The true beauty in the design of housing spectrum alongside of which youth are provided with a buffet of highly individualised supports is to see the networks of support even within the Threshold team in supporting any one youth – team members who are commited to being someone youth can count on.