Elisa Traficante, Director of Community Initiatives at Raising the Roof blogs for Nightstop UK about learning from the first year running a Nightstop service in Canada.

Back in 2015 Raising the Roof, Canada’s first national non-governmental organization focused on homelessness, dramatically re-designed the organization’s strategic directions to focus on the prevention of homelessness. In doing so, I began to look for international examples of homelessness prevention. I was delighted to learn about the positive results of a shelter diversion strategy, Nightstop.

360°kids, was the first Canadian organization to scale the Nightstop model in the Canadian context in 2017. In order to develop proof of concept of Nightstop here in Canada, my team and I worked with 360°kids to complete a program evaluation of the pilot.

Pamela Sariyannis, led the program evaluation on behalf of Raising the Roof. Pamela reported positive findings based on the pilot’s early results:

Some changes may be needed to better suit the York Region’s context.

  • 83% of host respondents to an online survey noted that youth having to take their belongings with them every day is a limitation of the program
  • Host volunteers are also trained as drivers to be able to pick up and drop off young people when they can since York Region is so large
  • Hosts suggested setting up youth in a home for more than one night at a time and allowing them to leave their belongings would be a positive change
  • Due to the limited housing options in York Region, Supported Lodgings (a longer-term model of Nightstop) is being developed for youth who need more than 3 weeks to find stable housing

Next Steps:

Raising the Roof will continue to support the efforts of 360°kids’ progress with the Nightstop model. My team will also provide additional technical support to agencies across Canada interested in implementing the model in their local communities.

In addition, Raising the Roof is a founding member of A Way Home Canada, a national coalition to end youth homelessness. In partnership with A Way Home Canada, we will be working to promote Nightstop and other longer-term models of Host Homes programming in public policy, systems planning and practise across Canada.

Finally, working with The Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, the leading national research body on homelessness we will be conducting a developmental evaluation of our efforts to scale the initiative. In this evaluation framework will be examining the following evaluation questions:

1. How can we build off the successes of Depaul UK in scaling Nightstop across Canada?

2. How can partnerships and cross-ministerial relationships be utilized to create high leverage policy opportunities for scaling the Nightstop model across Canada?

3. How can the model be culturally adapted to meet the needs of Indigenous young people?

I am delighted to work with the Depaul UK team. I have enjoyed tremendous learning from our UK partners and look forward to integrating these learnings in efforts to achieve our goal of preventing homelessness across Canada.

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