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RallyForward, a Choices for Youth (CFY) program, combines a supportive housing program with intensive case management supports to help vulnerable young people in St. John’s. With rising property costs and a highly competitive rental market, youth are encountering more barriers than ever on their path to securing stable, affordable housing. The RallyForward team works with youth to help them overcome obstacles while strengthening their life skills and support structures.

RallyForward helps to break down the barriers that are preventing their young people from obtaining housing while providing them the skills, tools, and encouragement that they need to eventually transition into independent living situations. RallyForward currently has the capacity to support twenty-six young people, with sixteen living in CFY housing units in downtown St. John’s and ten living independently in the community. RallyForward provides property management support to these young people and engages with the landlords on their behalf. By maintaining positive relationships with these landlords, RallyForward is enhancing the housing stability of their young people.

Rachel Laracy, (Interim) RallyForward Program Coordinator

“When we are able to get someone housed, with supports, we really do get to work on some of the other goals and objectives that they have.”

RallyForward is a youth-driven program where the young people themselves determine the skills they want to develop and the goals they want to pursue. Program participants complete a support plan each month to identify areas for change and opportunities for growth. Every young person in the RallyForward program is entitled to a certain number of support hours each week, broken up into two-hour blocks, where RallyForward staff visit with their young people in their homes to review and advance their support plans. The RallyForward team also handles all medication distribution for their young people, ensuring that the youth are getting the meds they need when they need them.

RallyForward also operates two groups every week to benefit their program participants. They hold a cooking group on Tuesdays, where staff prepare meals and distribute them to their young people in the community, and a recreation group on Saturdays. Like the rest of RallyForward’s programming, these groups are also youth-driven, so the young people have input on meals and activities.

Rachel Laracy, (Interim) RallyForward Program Coordinator

“There are very significant steps that happen when someone is in an apartment, just around basic living. Budgeting for food or preparing meals…that’s a significant piece of work that staff are doing every day. I can’t understate how much work the team does day-to-day to help youth obtain the skills required to live independently. Even things as simple as ‘When is garbage day’ and helping them track that so that they acquire the skills so that when they transition from our program, they have the skills to live independently.”

Many young people face stigma when attempting to access rental housing. However, young people with RallyForward are benefiting greatly from the wrap-around supports that the program provides. One of the young people with the program has maintained stable housing for almost two years, and another is closing in on one year of stable housing. For youth who would otherwise have very few housing opportunities available to them, this is a significant achievement.

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