Housing is not often affordable for youth and families in vulnerable contexts. A new 10-unit apartment complex in Charlottetown, P.E.I. has been built to support youth transitioning out of care at age 18. Youth ‘aging out’ of care may report feeling as though they have nowhere to go or that they do not currently hold the life skills needed to live on their own. The apartment complex has on-site staff to provide support for life skills training, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and organizing. The units are bachelor-style apartments, and tenants may stay for up to 18 months, paying affordable rent based on their income. There are also other tenants in the building who are not a part of the program, but utilize the apartments’ affordability.
Housing costs have increased heavily in recent years, causing many youth and families to live in quality-inferior housing as this is all they are able to afford. Housing instability put new mothers in jeopardy of losing custody of their children. According to the Quint Development Corporation in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – which supports mothers who are either close to losing custody of their children or have lost custody of their children and are working towards reunification – many supportive housing options are not widely available for mothers with children, as the homes are often not large enough for families. According to their 2019/20 annual report, out of their 209 affordable housing tenants, 87 are children.
Youth transitioning out of care in provinces with no moratoriums in place have been having amplified difficulties finding affordable housing during COVID-19. Children growing up in foster care may have been apprehended as a result of a birth alert, which many mothers receiving support from Quint Development have experienced with their children. As Saskatchewan’s decision to end birth alerts became official on February 1, 2021, community organizations have been calling for more support for vulnerable families, starting with establishing firm foundations through affordable and supportive housing.