Youth Homelessness

Nobody chooses to be homeless.

Due to complex social and economic disparities, thousands of young people
in our region don’t have a safe place to call home.

It’s about more than finding a place to sleep.

Youth homelessness is often invisible. When someone you know is experiencing homelessness, they might still be showing up to work or school, but at the end of the day, they don’t have a safe place to spend the night.  

Whether it’s couch surfing or relying on shelters, these options are short-term, unstable and unpredictable. They make the living situations for homeless youth precarious—and quite often dangerous.

A photo of two people dancing arm-in-arm in their living room.

There are many factors that can drive youth to homelessness. In Canada:

  • Violence accounts for at least 60% of the reasons young people are forced to leave home.

  • Almost one third of youth who are homeless identify as 2SLGBTQ+.

  • Youth who have been involved in the child welfare system account for almost 40% of the youth who experience homelessness.

  • Without proper access to internet and technology, many young people have lost connection to critical social services during COVID-19.

Why we care

Someone who is experiencing homelessness might have had a difficult home life or been a victim of abuse. They could be facing issues with drugs, alcohol or mental health that might make it tough to transition to living on their own.

The pandemic has made it even harder for young people to meet their basic needs. Without access to housing, youth are incapable of self-isolating—putting themselves and others at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

We believe that everyone deserves to find a place to call home.

United Way East Ontario helped Ciizzy find a safe place to live.

While COVID-19 made it hard for Ciizzy to find a place to stay after she was kicked out, United Way East Ontario and Youth Services Bureau helped her find a brighter path forward.

A photo of a few people watching a movie in their home.

What we do

GenNext East Ontario gets at the root of the issue to create long-term solutions that will end youth homelessness for good. This not only shuts the door to chronic adult homelessness—it saves lives.

We’re helping local partners across Prescott-Russell, Ottawa, Lanark and Renfrew Counties:

  • Advocate for and strengthen the system that supports our region’s most vulnerable youth by supporting evidence-based solutions like ‘Housing First’.

  • Provide homeless youth with much-needed basic needs like food and personal protective equipment.
  • Bridge the technology gap, so youth can stay connected to counsellors, mentors and vital social services.

  • Provide culturally, age appropriate housing programs and wrap-around services to help youth build a more stable life. 
A photo of a mom and daughter working on a craft together.

You can end youth homelessness, before it becomes life-long.

Young people experiencing homelessness need connections to people who care. Together, we can provide opportunities for youth in our communities to build a brighter future.

Become a monthly donor in support of our work to end Youth Homelessness by joining GenNext+, so that young people can get the help they need.

GenNext East Ontario is powered by United Way East Ontario, a registered Canadian charity. All donations are processed and issued with an official tax receipt by United Way East Ontario.

We take accountability seriously.

You should feel confident when supporting a charity, and we’re committed to full transparency, accountability, and cost-efficiency. We invest your gift in smart, strategic ways, to ultimately move the needle.

Red heart icon

Every donation is put to work in the community where it is raised to tackle the causes you care about.

Red checkmark icon

Charity Intelligence, MoneySense & Maclean’s named United Way East Ontario a top-100 Canadian charity.

Learn more about United Way’s charity ratings and how your gift is managed.

to the GenNext newsletter

Spam-free, we promise!
Join GenNext+
become a monthly donor
Receive the latest news

Subscribe to our
bi-monthly newsletter

Get stories of local love, event invites, volunteer opportunities, helpful highlights from our partners, updates on our impact, and so much more.