Life Skills Program

I was in a dark place, consumed with fear of the unknown. I was also suffering in silence with my mental health and doing nothing to help myself. I had very low self-esteem. And absolutely no confidence or direction. The support I have received here has helped me realize many different things that I was not fully aware of before I came in. From my experience in being here, I believe that no matter what I am going through the staff are so forthcoming in helping me find the suitable services I need to deal with my current issues. I have received help in areas dealing with mental illness, substance abuse, and housing. I am now on the road to recovery. I have several bumps in the road to get where I am today. And I am the type of person that keeps going and trying when I know people care about me. That’s what I have gotten out of being here at Youth Without Shelter. I am more determined to reach my goals. I am also more confident in myself that I will get to brighter days. Thank you Youth Without Shelter.”


40.1% of homeless youth were younger than 16 when they first experienced homelessness.  Youth enter YWS with a lack of life skills to move forward in their lives; and overall feelings of hopelessness and no confidence.  Recognizing these realities, placing youth at the centre of all services and decision-making YWS has moved away from separate and distinct programming to an integrated Life Skills and Employment Program.  This new model launched in Winter 2017 aims to provide both YWS residents and former residents in our Aftercare Program with life skills training and support based on their individual needs.  Previously workshops were developed for groups of residents, this new direction addresses specific “life skills” needs in a one on one manner as set by the resident’s case manager and the youth resident.  A holistic, personalized perspective recognizing that youth each have different strengths, challenges and dreams.  The range of life skills training options is unlimited from communications/interpersonal skills to how to cook, maintain personal hygiene to time management.  The program adapts offerings to fit youth schedules beyond daytime hours to evening and weekend hours.  Life skills programming draws upon the expertise of more than 12 partner agencies including:

Contact the Life Skills Program: 416.748.0110 ext. 28

The Life Skills and Employment Coordinator shares her thoughts:

“To transition young people out of homelessness requires a safe, planned approach with essential wrap around supports including life skills that will give each youth a strong foundation to seek employment, education and housing.”

-Laura L.

Life Skills Program generously supported by:

By the numbers
(reflects program prior to Winter 2017)

Total workshops:
2013-14: 441
2014-15: 417
2015-16: 442
2016-17: 404

Total number of youth attended workshops:
2013-­14: 2,890
2014-­15: 2,467
2015-16: 2,283
2016-17: 1381*
*Program reconfigured in March 2017

2018-19: 1,025

One on one life skills sessions:

2017-18: 189

2018-19: 292

Group life skills sessions:

2017-18: 64

614 youth participants

2018-19: 81

1,025 youth participants