This section is a brief introduction to key words and terms used when discussing homeless youth, youth shelters, and youth services (in alphabetical order).  Don't see a word? Contact us and we will add it to the list!


At-Risk Youth: Youth who are currently in a dangerous or crisis situation that may lead to homelessness in the near future.

Case Management Programs: Case Management Programs focus on the individual needs of the youth. Typically, each youth is assigned a multidisciplinary team of counsellors to work with the youth to meet their specific goals.

Continuing Care / After Care: After Care services refer to the ongoing care of the youth after he/she has moved out of the shelter/transition home. Services often include monthly meetings with shelter counsellors, and outreach events for other at risk-youth.

Emergency Shelter: Typically open 24/7 unless otherwise noted, these shelters offer walk-in services to youth in crisis situation. 

ID Assistance/Referrals: Youth often arrive at shelters with no ID. This common program connects youth to the appropriate authorities to obtain a valid ID.

Family Reconnect Programs: Family Reconnect Programs focus on re-integrating the youth into the family circle if possible. By reaching out to families, this program is designed to heal and reconnect the youth and their families.

Life Skills Programs: Life Skills Programs focus on developing the independence of youth through counselling and instruction on topics of, but not limited to: cooking, budgeting, cleaning, money management, job finding, etc.

Referral Services: Referral Services at youth shelters put the youth into contact with the appropriate services that the shelter could not otherwise offer: legal, psychiatric.

Transitional Shelter: Semi-independent housing for youth. Designed to teach youth basic life skills such as cooking and cleaning under the guidance of staff. Accommodations are often limited and typically range from 3 months to 1 year.

Youth: Typically defined as anyone aged 16-24. Note: this age range is at the discretion of the shelter.

Youth Outreach: Shelter staff and community leaders conduct information sessions and fund raisers to community centres (such as faith centres and schools) to inform at-risk youth about the services offered at the shelter.