Integrated Youth Services
Proven Success at Our Current Site
Choices for Youth’s (CFY) Outreach and Youth Engagement (OYE) Centre on Carter’s Hill Place in St. John’s has grown into the first true Integrated Youth Services (IYS) site in Newfoundland and Labrador. Often called “the front door” of CFY, our IYS site brings together a wide variety of services to meet the immediate and long-term needs of youth.
The OYE Centre was not opened with the intention of becoming an IYS site. CFY’s work started with a focus on providing emergency shelter and addressing youth homelessness and the OYE Centre was dedicated to meeting young people’s immediate needs. Over the years, the OYE Centre has evolved into an IYS provider that more effectively meets the multifarious needs of young people.
OYE’s evolution stemmed from a growing understanding of why young people are experiencing homelessness. The reality is that youth homelessness is about more than simply a lack of available housing; there are larger factors at play that are keeping young people homeless, such as limited income, intergenerational poverty, an inability to meet mental health needs, and/or a lack of employment/employment. The work of our IYS site is to meet all of these needs, housing a variety of services under one roof wherever possible to provide wrap-around supports to young people.
David Banfield, [former] Manager of Housing Services
“These were all services that our youth really required – the medical team, counselling, income support assistance – but were not accessing because of barriers in the traditional systems. The Outreach program, and more broadly speaking IYS, have allowed us to connect youth more effectively with these systems.”
As the IYS movement grows across Canada, many sites are focusing on mental health and clinical services. CFY’s IYS site incorporates those services and meets youth where they are, offering them a safe, judgement-free, low-barrier space to access services. For many young people, simply reducing the physical distance between service providers eliminates a significant barrier that would otherwise prevent them from accessing essential services.
CFY plans to take a multifaceted approach to scaling the OYE framework for additional IYS sites across the province. Every service that can be offered to benefit youth must be treated as an equally important part of the process. The ability to direct young people to the other services they need when they need them is an essential part of the evolution of OYE and IYS in general. Cooperation and collaboration with community partners is therefore a core tenant of IYS.
Jen Crowe, [former] Manager of Strategic Initiates
“Outreach has evolved from the understanding that a lot of the reasons that people are homeless have little to do with housing itself, and a lot to do with income, a lot to do with intergenerational poverty, a lot to do with an inability to meet mental health needs, a lot to do with a lack of employment and/or education. We look to meet all of those needs, and we look to do it all under one roof, whenever possible.”
Because the OYE model keeps all these services under one roof, it is much easier for staff and youth to build and maintain close relationships with these community partners. Since we are all part of the same conversation, we can share information quickly and efficiently with one another. The insight that comes when all services are provided at a single location is another valuable byproduct of this one-stop-shop model.
OYE works with several community partners. The Downtown Health Collaborative provides OYE with doctors, nurse practitioners, and mental health counsellors. The AIDS Committee of NL’s Safe Works Access Program (SWAP) provides OYE with supplies to reduce harm and create safer options for youth. A team from Income Support visits the OYE Centre every week to assist youth in completing applications for their services. The support from partner organizations allows OYE to offer services that we otherwise could not and makes it easier for us to connect youth to the other services they need.