Building Home: Ending Youth Homelessness in NL

"Memorial Presents" Public Forum
Wednesday, December 3, 2014, 7:30pm
Gower Street United Church, St. John's, NL


Event Description

Youth homelessness is a persistent and growing problem throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, often involving childhood trauma, mental health, addictions, poverty, a disrupted education, and a lack of safe and affordable housing. In addition to the tremendous cost to youth and their families, there is a significant cost to society in terms of lost productivity and increased costs in health care, justice and corrections, education and other areas.

How bad is the situation in Newfoundland and Labrador? What are the likely problems if we don’t address this issue today? What can be done to address this complex problem? What are the roles of governments, charitable organizations and the public in addressing it? How are other Canadian communities eliminating youth homelessness? These and other questions will be addressed by an expert panel.



Dr. Stephen Gaetz is a Professor in the Faculty of Education at York University in Toronto. As Director of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness and the Homeless Hub, Stephen Gaetz is committed to increasing the impact of research on homelessness policy, planning and practice, thereby contributing to solutions to end homelessness in Canada. His research on homelessness has focused on youth, economic strategies, nutritional vulnerability, education and legal and justice issues, as well as solutions to homelessness from both a Canadian and international perspective. Recently he has co-edited volumes on youth homelessness in Canada and on Housing First. In 2014, Dr. Gaetz also became President of Raising the Roof, Canada’s leading charity focusing on solutions to homelessness.

Sheldon Pollett has been the Executive Director of Choices for Youth for 14 years, having spent 5 years prior to that as a Board member. During this time the organization has emerged a leader in developing innovative solutions to the needs of at-risk and homeless youth. Sheldon is co-chair of the National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness (Eva’s Initiatives) and co-chair of the national Mobilizing Local Capacity to End Youth Homelessness Program. He is also a member of the Advisory Committee for the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, and a Board member of Raising the Roof. On a provincial level, Sheldon is a member of the Minister’s Advisory Committee on Mental Health and Addictions (Department of Health and Community Services).

Dr. Martha Traverso-Yepez is an Associate Professor in the Division of Community Health and Humanities, Faculty of Medicine (MUN). With training in critical social psychology, her research interests are mainly focused on issues in the interface of social psychology and health, the social and ecological environment, children’s health, community health, social justice, and health equity. Both in her research and in her teaching (Health Promotion, Health Inequities and the Social Determinants of Health), she has a special focus on the complex interdependence between social, cultural, economic and political aspects and people’s health-related actions and decisions. Her current funded research projects are on health equity, children’s adverse experiences, and on food security. 

This event is being hosted in conjunction with Choices for Youth