This project was created by the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness. The National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness’ purpose is to continually build upon the collective wisdom and experience of our members and partners to prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness nationally. We are accomplishing this by providing a community of practice for service providers and by advocating for systemic and policy changes that will prevent, reduce and end youth homelessness.
In November 2013, the Learning Community approved the plan to create this Toolkit. At our Annual Conference we hosted a Town Hall event that featured Dr. Jama Shelton from the Forty to None Project in the United States as the keynote speaker. Dr. Shelton’s talk was recorded and is available on our Youtube page and clips have been included in the Toolkit.
The following were the activities of the Toolkit:
- Literature review
- Environmental scan of Learning Community organizations
- Convening of an Advisory Group
- Staff surveys of Learning Community organizations
- Youth engagement activities (focus groups in Toronto, Guelph, Ottawa and St. John’s)
- Outreach for emerging and promising practices for the Tools section
- Curriculum development
- Beta Testing of the Toolkit
- Toolkit launched
The Staff Development Working Group was tasked with overseeing/coordinating the development of the content of the Toolkit. The Toolkits and Special Project Working Group coordinated the development of the online resource.
It was important that this project include the voices of youth with lived experience as we need to hear to from these young people to fix the problems they encounter in our spaces. As part of our youth engagement activities we hired a Youth Engagement Worker, who was responsible developing the focus group facilitation guide. The guide was created to ensure we had comparable data from the focus groups as there were different facilitators. These are discussed further in the Youth Engagement section.
The beta testing process was critical in the development process of the Toolkit. The feedback helped us to restructure the content in the format that is currently is. Beta testers helped us to realise that we needed to use the concept of creating welcoming spaces for LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness to frame the content of the Toolkit. The feedback also helped us make sure that the content of the Toolkit fit the training needs of staff and resource needs of organizations.