Youth Who Have Been Homeless Find Expression in Writing

Leif Harris’s spoken word poem “I am Sam” echoes poignantly through the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre.

Leif Harris Centre for Urban Youth Research

He is one of eight people who participated in a six-week writing workshop for youth with lived experience of homelessness, and he’s sharing his work at the 2019 Republic of Childhood Youth Forum. It’s the third annual edition of the event staged by the Ottawa International Writers Fest, and this year’s forum celebrated the 30th anniversary of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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New Social Innovation Lab Aims to End Youth Homelessness

Jacqueline Kennelly doesn’t want to just curb homelessness that plagues up to 40,000 Canadian youths each year and 6,000 on any given night. She wants to eradicate it.

Kennelly, a professor in Carleton University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology, is working with the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) to create Making the Shift: Youth Homelessness Social Innovation Lab, an $18-million, five-year project.

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Carleton’s Centre for Urban Youth Research Involved in Ottawa Writers Festival Youth Showcase

The Republic of Childhood Youth Forum will host the event Write on! Chapbook Showcase and Breakout Sessions. The showcase features the literary work of students from Woodroffe High School, as well as youth with lived experience of homelessness involved with Carleton’s Centre for Urban Youth Research.

The showcase will also feature 2019 Ottawa Book Award winner and Carleton graduate student, Kagiso Lesogo Molope.

Media are invited to attend the student showcase.

When: Friday, Nov. 22, 2019 at 1 p.m.
Where: Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, 355 Cooper St., Ottawa

After having participated in a series of intensive writing workshops, the young authors will share their literary creations.

The showcase will include guest presentations by Prof. Jacqueline Kennelly of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Prof. Claudia Mitchell from McGill University and Maya Shetreat.

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Working Upstream Receives SSHRC Partnership Development Grant

CUYR’s Jacqueline Kennelly received a Partnership Development Grant. Kennelly’s project, Working Upstream, is aimed at preventing and ending youth homelessness by improving existing policies to create better educational responses.

Her research recognizes that Canada will not be able to successfully address the homelessness crisis if preventative approaches are not integrated into Canada’s policies.

The project has found that adult homelessness often starts in youth. With schools acting as second homes for youth, it’s the place to start preventing adult homelessness before it begins.

“Currently schools do not have homelessness on their radar, at least not officially,” says Kennelly. “Individual teachers or principals might be aware of the situations for some young people who are homeless, but we need to develop provincial standards to ensure that young people are connected with supports as soon as they are at risk of homelessness.”

Working Upstream will build on school-based prevention by asking important questions and connecting children with the best support.

Through workshops, webinars and curriculum recommendations, the project hopes to gather evidence-based resources to inform school professionals about how they can best prevent homelessness.

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Welcome to the Centre for Urban Youth Research

The Centre for Urban Youth Research is a new research centre founded by Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly and based out of Carleton University in Ottawa. CUYR (pronounced queer) is a hub for critical and justice-oriented youth scholars, activists, and community organizations focused on tackling inequalities experienced by young people in urban centres. With both Canadian and international affiliates, CUYR seeks to provide a bridge for those working towards the expansion of social justice for young people who are most marginalized under contemporary capitalism. CUYR values and prioritizes meaningful youth engagement in research and practice, alongside a deep scrutiny of embedded power relations and the potential for reproducing inequalities.