Project Description


An Examination of Homeless Youths’ Longitudinal Aftercare Experiences

Principal Investigator: Stephanie Begun
Co-Investigators: Barbara Fallon, Izumi Sakamoto, Kaitlin Schwan
Collaborators: Shani Kipang
Agency Partner: Covenant House Toronto
Consulting Agency: The Second City Toronto
Expected Project Timeline: 2019-2021
Funder: Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), Partnership Engage Grant 

Few populations face greater marginalization than homeless youth. One arts-based approach, improvisation (“improv”), has shown great initial promise in engaging individuals in social activities, programs, and therapeutic interventions. Yet, the potential of improv with homeless youth has not been widely studied. This project engages youth in improve as an opportunity to participate in forums that will enhance their communication with others, through activities such as impromptu scenes, skits, role-plays, and perspective-taking. Youth will act, brainstorm, innovate, and even “fail,” in safe, team-based settings. This project will present venues for deepening youths’ social connections and self-esteem, build positive communication and self-advocacy skills, and provide youth with positive models for teamwork, trust-building, and access to caring adult facilitators. 

This project’s academic-community partnership with Covenant House Toronto and Second City Toronto, will combine its subject-matter expertise and collective commitment to improving the lives of youth experiencing homelessness (YEH) in an effort to identify tangible innovations to support frontline caseworkers; strengthen research partnerships by engaging in integrated knowledge translation to affect policy and systems change; and cultivate future scholars, leaders, and innovators in youth homelessness prevention through active training, mentorship, and collaboration. 


Project Status Notes
Research team has been hired and trained; REB approval obtained; recruitment and data collection will hopefully begin sometime in 2021 or when safe to re-enter youth shelter environments in compliance with Toronto Public Health guidelines regarding the on-going pandemic of COVID-19.