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95% of Canadians agree that it's in Canada's best interests to help homeless youth find employment

Raising the Roof report focuses on how to support employers to give at-risk and homeless youth a chance

TORONTO, Nov. 14, 2012 /CNW/ - Raising the Roof has released the first report to explore the issue of unemployment among homeless youth in CanadaIt's Everybody's Business: Engaging the Private Sector in Solutions to Youth Homelessness focuses on understanding how to motivate and support Canadian business to provide employment and skills training opportunities to disadvantaged youth or, essentially, to "take a chance" on these young people.  In a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid on behalf of Raising the Roof, 95% of Canadians agree that it's in Canada's best interests to help homeless youth find employment.

The issue of youth homelessness in Canada is of growing concern. The problem is complex - the solutions don't have to be. One thing is certain: to have adequate, stable housing, youth must be able to support themselves. Unfortunately, homeless youth, or those at risk of homelessness, face great difficulties in obtaining and maintaining employment.

It's Everybody's Business includes experiences, observations and advice from employers, community agency staff, and youth. Part of Raising the Roof's Youthworks initiative, the report and underlying research was made possible by the support of Youthworks Lead Partner, Intact Financial Corporation, along with Major Partners -- the Government of Canada, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Home Depot Canada Foundation, and Direct Energy.

Recommendations
The report points to the need for cooperation and coordination between the private sector, community agencies and government.  Recommendations include:

  • Development of a Canada-wide supportive network to strengthen coordination of youth employment support services.
  • Workplace policies that encourage hiring of at-risk or formerly street-involved youth.
  • Employer commitment to provide a workplace environment that encourages the youth's further skills training and education.
  • Consistent agency service standards, made available to employers before they commit to employment or apprenticeship opportunities.

"The main conclusion of the report is there are ways to increase the engagement of the private sector in solutions to youth homelessness," observes Carolann Barr, Executive Director of Raising the Roof. "Although there are lots of challenges, the benefits are immeasurable. It is vitally important to help thousands of youth get their foot-in-the-door of the labour market and reach their true potential."

Employer/agency toolkit - a practical resource
Along with the report, Raising the Roof has also launched an on-line toolkit for prospective employers and community agencies - the first practical national resource of its kind in Canada.

About Raising the Roof
Raising the Roof is a national Canadian charity focused on long-term solutions to homelessness.  We fund local, grass-roots agencies working to alleviate homelessness in their communities; build awareness among Canadians about the true nature of homelessness today and educate them about how to prevent it in the future; and build partnerships by giving people, corporations and organizations the opportunity to participate in solutions.

SOURCE Raising the Roof

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