Supports and Services

Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound (UIHB)

Goal of the Program

The Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program uses a unique, innovative model to provide wrap around services to help mother-led families earn college diplomas, start careers, and achieve economic self-sufficiency. The UIHB program aims to see each of our women, upon completion of the program, move into independent housing and maintain steady employment at a livable wage.
Throughout our four-phase program, we provide goal-oriented case management, cultural teachings, parent support, and trauma counselling. The Urban Indigenous Homeward Bound program also helps locate permanent, affordable housing, subsidized childcare (if available), thus participants can focus on the completion of a 2-year college diploma or apprenticeship.

The Four Phases of UIHB

Phase 1: Program Start. This includes life skills, computer and financial literacy training, preparation for post-secondary entrance and academic upgrading for college entrance.
Phase 2: Post-Secondary Education. Participants will have a choice from various 2-year diploma options and will receive support around applying for funding and navigating the post-secondary application process.
Phase 3: Internship: Participants will be connected to professional internship to gain work experience.
Phase 4: Completion: The Indigenous Homeward Bound Hamilton program connects women to opportunities for full-time employment with industry partners. We also support women in transition into their new lives.

Eligibility Criteria for UIHB

  • 18 years or older
  • Risk and/ or history of homelessness
  • Indigenous Ancestry (First Nations, Inuit, Metis)
  • At least one child under 17
  • Living in Hamilton or surrounding area
  • High school diploma preferred but not required
  • On or eligible for OW, OSDP, or EI
  • No current criminal proceedings or addictions
  • Able to commit to participating in a full-time program

How to Apply

Our admissions process involves 3 parts:

  • Application
  • Personal interview(s)
  • Academic assessments in math, writing, and reading

Endaayaang: Housing First 4 Youth (HF4Y)

Endaayaang is a HF4Y project that supports Indigenous youth, aged 16-24, who are exiting systems such as Child Protection Services, Justice, Healthcare, or youth whose personal safety may be at risk. Endaayaang is an Ojibwe word meaning “a safe place where your heart/spirit feel at home”.

A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness have partnered together in “Making the Shift” and established the Housing First for Youth framework (HF4Y). Endaayaang is Hamilton’s first HF4Y project aimed at supporting Indigenous youth.

HF4Y is designed to address the needs of youth by providing them with immediate access to housing that is safe, affordable and appropriate, with zero preconditions. This H4FY project also provides the necessary and age-appropriate supports that focus on health, well-being, life skills, engagement in education and employment, and social inclusion. HF4Y is not simply to provide housing stability, but to support young people and facilitate a healthy transition to adulthood. There are 5 core principles of HF4Y that Endaayaang adheres to:

  1. A right to housing with no preconditions
  2. Youth choice, youth voice and self-determination
  3. Positive youth development and wellness orientation
  4. Individualized and client-driven supports with no time limits
  5. Social inclusion and community integration

Each youth will work with a Navigator on their journey into adulthood, self-sustainability and independence. The Navigators are dedicated to helping youth reclaim their Indigenous identity and use Indigenous teachings to develop goal and action plans, and to enhance their connection to culture. Endaayaang’s case management model uses a variety of traditional and modern teachings to support youth on their journeys. The case management model aligns with the 5 core principles of HF4Y and was created through guidance and feedback by both Elders and youth. It reflects the historical usage of the Medicine Wheel, the 7 Grandfather’s Teachings and the Circle of Courage.

As part of our department we also have Journey Coaches who provide programming to support clients around life skills, culture, social inclusion, empowerment, and self-sustainability.

Program requirements:

  • Youth must meet with their navigator once a week as a minimum
  • Weekly unit checks must happen to ensure the youth is maintaining their unit and demonstrating the skills necessary to live independently
  • Youth must participate in the research component of this project which includes filling out surveys and engaging with a research coordinator to capture their story

Intake process:

Once a youth is referred to the Housing and Homelessness Department, there is an intake worker who will complete the first part of the intake package to gather information. This is to get an understanding of where the youth is at on their journey, who their supports are, what their needs are, and any additional information to determine which program is best suited for their needs. This information will also help the Navigator provide the best possible support. Once the intake is complete, the youth will be assigned to a Navigator based on their needs and the current caseload of the Navigator. The Navigator will make contact and they can begin working together on the youth’s journey.


As Endaayaang is a pilot project, there is a research component in order to evaluate and adapt the project to meet the needs of the youth.

A research coordinator and assistants will be recording and documenting the youth’s journey and meeting with the youth to support them in understanding their progress in the project. The researcher is not there to put a “check in the box” but rather to help articulate each youth’s unique and personal story. The youth are required to participate in the research as it will provide an opportunity for them to share their experiences and ideas to improve the project.

Indigenous housing/homeless navigator

Provides assistance with housing support, unit viewings, assistance with housing applications and other housing related support and assistance based on individual housing needs.

Cultural support, referrals to both external community service providers and internal HRIC programs are a few areas that we can help. The Goal of this service is to provide assistance and guidance to those in need to obtain, maintain and sustain housing stability for indigenous individuals and families currently experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Youth in Transition


To connect youth leaving care with the proper services to support their mental health and well being, while providing culturally appropriate programming.



YIT is designed to assist in the development of life skills, connect youth with jobs, educational supports, mental health supports, housing needs and advocacy to ensure that the youth are having their needs met. We use a strength based approach to help youth expand on what they’re good at in order to strengthen areas that can be worked on. We use a goal setting model to help youth prioritize what they would like to achieve by setting short term and long term goals. We also offer 1:1 support to promote a healthy bond between worker and youth.

Housing Support Worker


To support youth entering a Voluntary Youth Service Agreement (VYSA) with the Children’s Aid Society and other child protection agencies.



The program was designed exclusively for youth 16-17 that are signing a VYSA. The HSW will assist youth in searching for and obtaining housing, as well as maintaining housing. Life skills and programming, as well as 1:1 supports are offered to help youth gain the skills needed to live independently. The HSW will connect youth to proper support and services within the community to better assist them with household management and other areas in which youth can expand.