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Coming Up Together Conference


Visit the Coming Up Together website to learn more about the conference.

In order to stimulate inter-sectoral discussion and planning strategies to prevent and end youth homelessness in Canada, the Coming Up Together Conference, convened by Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly with the help of a multi-sector steering committee and youth stream planning team made up of youth with lived experience of homelessness, brought together 200 stakeholders in the field of youth homelessness from the policy, service provision, and academic sectors across Canada and internationally.

Final Report on the 2018 Conference

The three-day conference took place from February 20–22nd, 2018 at the University of Ottawa. Conference events included:

  • A dedicated youth stream planned and led by youth with lived experience, with practical sessions intended to share knowledge on issues important to youth who are at risk or experiencing homelessness

  • A youth engagement session with the HPS, co-facilitated by two young people with lived experience, to consult youth about promising practices for creating innovative, intersectional, and youth-informed approaches to community planning

  • A World Café on provincial approaches to youth homelessness, hosted by A Way Home Canada

  • Opening and closing plenary sessions each day bringing together policy representatives, service providers, youth with lived experience, and researchers

  • Breakout sessions, including workshops, paper presentations, and panel discussions which were led by service providers, youth, researchers and policy leaders from across Canada, with contributions from the U.S. and the U.K.

  • A Performing Arts Showcase organized and performed by youth with lived experience

  • A Visual Art Show and sale of artworks created by youth with lived experience

  • Walking tours led by youth with lived experience, to give conference attendees a glimpse of a day in the life of a homeless young person in Ottawa

  • A Memorial Spirit Flag art space and display to remember young people who have lost their lives as a result of homelessness and street-involvement


Service Provision Recommendations

✓ Partner with young people to identify goals and support them in achieving these goals
✓ Consult young people as educators, advisors, informants, and advocates
✓ Create longer term engagement projects and opportunities that allow for relationships between organizations and young people to develop. When this is not possible, look to existing groups in communities before designing consultation and engagement processes
✓ Provide young people with resources (bus tickets, food) and offer monetary compensation for their time and contributions
✓ Establish leadership councils to ensure youth inclusion and engagement in all processes that affect them
✓ Recognize and reward expertise by providing young people with accreditation for participating in community planning and engagement sessions
✓ Offer professional development and training workshops as part of engagement and community planning sessions
✓ Enact youth-positive policy to guide the priorities and actions of work with young people
✓ Utilize co-chairing and co-facilitation models for workshops, training, and engagement and planning sessions

Policy and Legislation Recommendations

✓ Create national policies which ensure youth participation in social and economic development
✓ Engage young people through outreach, advocacy and mainstreaming of youth issues in all spheres of homelessness planning
✓ Establish structured youth delegate systems which include and support youth representatives to become meaningfully involved in governmental participation and decision-making processes

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