In all the work we do with marginalized and homeless youth, Sutton Youth Services staff recognizes that youth require specialization programs and engagement strategies which embrace Positive Youth Development. Our work with youth confirms the reality that Housing First is not a one-size-fits-all program, but rather a philosophy built around two main tenets:
- a) Everyone has a right to a safe place to call home, and
- b) There are no requirements that must be met in order to have access to housing.
Sutton Youth Services programs are client-centered, which at its core means the choices about accessing programs and housing options are driven by the clients themselves. Our flexible approach to supportive programming not only assists youth in responding to their current situation, but establishes a safe service model that promotes permanent housing and the supports, opportunities, and connections that youth need to be successful members of our communities. Emergency services that respond to the immediate incidence of homelessness or housing instability may, at one time, have been considered the goal of agencies, but as a connection to permanent solutions, staff at Sutton Youth Services recognizes that initial crisis response is just the beginning of the journey. We therefore do not see failures when a youth returns to our programs, but see it as an opportunity to enhance the youth’s life skills and community connections. Sutton Youth Services staff members are committed to ensuring that every engagement, intervention, and service plan is used as a coaching and confidence-building opportunity with youth. We also work with partnering agencies to provide specialized support as required.
Sutton Youth Services is designed to provide temporary emergency housing to youth who are homeless. Program Service Caseworkers complete an assessment to measure vulnerability. Youth that measure with a low to medium acuity, which means that they need minimal supports, will work primarily with the Program Service Caseworkers and/or Wraparound Support to find appropriate accommodations and/or family reintegration as quickly as possible. Youth who triage high acuity require more intensive supports and will be referred to our Housing and Community Support Caseworker, who will assist with finding appropriate accommodations as quickly as possible. The Housing and Community Support Caseworker and Wraparound Support Case Manager will work together to begin the process of intensive case management. Emergency Housing Programming runs on a four-month schedule to allow for a variety of programs that meet the diverse needs of the youth we serve. Programming ranges from mandatory meetings to self-selected programs and scheduled community partner programs who offer in-house services. The Life Skills sessions conducted by Program Service Caseworkers and/or Wraparound Support will be facilitated in the Youth Reach Drop in Center and/or Commercial kitchen. This will be included in the monthly programs, which are intended to be the beginning of longer term supports and programs that youth can continue to access after discharge.
The Transitional Housing at Sutton Youth Services provides interim housing for 364 days to youth who are homeless or at risk of imminent homelessness. It is intended for mid acuity clients who have a goal that can be completed in 364 days and leads to permanent housing. All Transitional Housing clients will receive case management and support from the Housing and Community Support Caseworker. All Transitional Housing clients will also work with the Wraparound Support Case Manager to maintain their life skills through maintaining their basic needs, house cleaning, and support for regular programming schedules. Transitional Housing is designed to increase life skills and goal attainment by offering programs to the youth such as meal preparation and financial literacy.
Youth Reach Drop-in services are available to youth who are homeless or at risk of homelessness and who reside in the community. Youth are able to drop in and access open programs and services that are on the schedule for that day, make appointments with staff and/or professionals in the community who offer services on site, utilize the showers and laundry, or simply have a meal The Youth Reach Drop-in Center is open seven days a week from 9 am to 6:30 pm Monday to Friday and from 10 am to 6 pm Saturday and Sunday, with an increase of hours from 9 am to 9 pm Monday to Friday and from 10 am to 6 pm with the implementation of Drop-In Program Service Caseworkers. Services range from enhanced programs during the day and recreational programs during the evening (view Youth Reach calendar). Youth can drop in as many times as they need. Program Drop-in Support Workers connect with youth at the level of intensity which is required for as long as it is necessary.
The Aftercare Support Program is based on a Housing First model of service delivery which builds on strong partnerships with other community agencies to ensure youth receive wraparound services that may continue once they have been rehoused. Youth who have moved into the community from a program at Sutton Youth Services have an option of participating in our Aftercare Program. Aftercare is intended for a year, provides supports and services in the youth home with the community, and will assist with keeping a youth successfully housed. The Housing and Community Support Caseworker takes part in ongoing landlord engagement to foster positive relationships and facilitate rapid rehousing when required, and also provides intensive case management. The Wraparound Support Case Manager affords intensive case management, ensuring a person-centered approach in the collaborative effort of community-based service agencies, as well as natural supports that are culturally competent, individualized, strengths- based, enduring, and outcomes-focused. The Youth Outreach Worker (YOW) assists the youth with a wide range of practical supports that include eviction prevention assessments, food security supports, transportation supports, living skills development, and landlord and roommate mediation. The Housing and Community Support Caseworker, Wraparound Support Case Manager, and Youth Outreach Worker all function as a team that provides support for the client and the landlord to promote long term housing stability.
The Onsite Supportive Services programs are specialized support areas that focus on the development of key skills required for housing stability, such as education and employment. This stream is available to all youth who access any program within Sutton Youth Services and provides individualized support in accomplishing goals related to these areas.