Project to create transitional housing for homeless Black youth

Two black youth

The upcoming Black Youth Housing Project, associated with the Homeless Hub at York University’s Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, will explore what housing models best support Black youth who are experiencing homelessness in York region.

The project is led by 360°kids, a non-profit organization that works to prevent homelessness by helping youth at risk, or in crisis, transition to a state of safety and stability. Among those working on the project are Nathan Okonta, a York University alum and a research associate at the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, as well as Promise Busulwa, a communications co-ordinator at the observatory.

While research on homelessness in Black communities is limited, the available data shows that Black youth are overrepresented in populations experiencing homelessness. The Black Youth Housing Project looks to address, through research and action, a means to deliver a transitional housing model that could transform the lives of Black youth. It aims to provide five key benefits for communities working to address this particular crisis:

  1. understanding the needs and challenges of youth who are currently experiencing or have previously experienced homelessness;
  2. identifying pathways or conditions associated with homelessness;
  3. informing the development of a youth housing model with cultural and age-appropriate services;
  4. informing the development of preventative measures to support youth at risk of homelessness; and
  5. promoting high-quality research to fill in gaps in the current literature around Black youth homelessness in Canada. 

Its goals are to better understand how to provide culturally relevant services to Black youth experiencing homelessness. It also seeks to inform the development of a long-term transitional home, for which 360°kids has already secured a site, expected to be operational in 2024. 

The project is currently recruiting African, Caribbean and/or Black youth aged 16 to 34 who have experienced homelessness or housing insecurity in the Greater Toronto Area within the past five years. Participants will be invited to an online or in-person interview or focus group. All participants will be compensated for their time, and participation in research is entirely voluntary. Those interested can reach out to the project’s principal investigator, Neil Price, at