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THIS is Housing First for Youth: A Program Model Guide Webinar

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THIS is Housing First for Youth: A Program Model Guide

Housing First for Youth (HF4Y) is a rights-based intervention for young people (aged 13-24) who experience homelessness, or who are at risk. It is designed to address the needs of developing adolescents and young adults by providing them with immediate access to housing that is safe, affordable and appropriate, and the necessary and age appropriate supports that focus on health, well-being, life skills, engagement in education and employment, and social inclusion.

Join Stephen Gaetz from the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and Melanie Redman from A Way Home Canada to discuss the program model in more detail.


Dr. Stephen Gaetz is the Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and professor in the Faculty of Education at York University. Dr. Gaetz is committed to a research agenda that foregrounds social justice and attempts to make research on homelessness relevant to policy and program development. His research on homeless youth has focused on their economic strategies, health, education and legal and justice issues, and more recently, he has focused his attention on policy and in particular the Canadian response to homelessness.

Melanie Redman is the Executive Director of A Way Home Canada. Previously, Melanie was the Director of National Initiatives at Eva’s. In that role she directed the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness, the Eva’s Awards for Ending Youth Homelessness, and the Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness Program. She currently serves as the Chair of the Youth Homelessness Research Priority Area at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness. Melanie is also the Chair of the Board of the Rainbow Food Education Foundation.


Kim Kakakaway is the Coordinator for the Home Fire Program with Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary and has worked with the agency for 5 years. Home Fire is a Housing First program for Indigenous youth between the ages of 16 – 24 who are experiencing homelessness. In this program she creates a home where they can begin to heal, build community and reconnect with culture and family. Kim is Cree, from Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and has lived in Calgary from a young age. Kim has a Bachelor of Arts in Counseling and has been involved with Indigenous youth work for over 10 years. Kim has volunteered for over 7 years in her community, with youth who are living in some of the most impoverished conditions in Alberta. She has a passion for empowering Indigenous youth to begin their healing journey, providing them hope, and connecting them back to their families and communities.

Heidi Walter is the Manager of Housing First programs for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Calgary. In this role she provides leadership and guidance to Housing First teams working with youth to end their experience with homelessness through healthy and successful transitions to adulthood. Heidi is a Registered Social Worker and holds a Bachelor degree in Social Work from the University of Calgary. Since beginning her career with BGCC in 2000 she has gained valuable experience and success in numerous roles, most recently overseeing the launch of the Home Fire program (Housing First for Indigenous Youth), the launch of The Toni Kohn House (Foyer Model program) supporting the Haven’s Way Evaluation Report. Heidi is an active member of the Youth Sector in Calgary and through her involvement in various committees has provide support to the implementation of Calgary’s Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness – 2017 Refresh.

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