Quick facts

Service type: Youth
Eligibility: Youth (age 17 – 24 at intake) residing in Toronto, Etobicoke, North York, East York and Scarborough who are currently (or previously within the past six years) involved with a Children’s Aid Society or any of the following service agreements: Society or Extended Society Ward, Crown Ward, Kinship Care Agreement, Voluntary Youth Service Agreement
Delivery: In person, virtual
Fee: Free
Program dates: Year-round (average duration of services is one year)
Partners: Making the Shift (MTS), led by A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness

Program description

Co-designed by youth with lived experience in the child welfare system, Free 2 Be (Housing First for Youth Leaving Care) is an intensive casework and outreach program. Our team supports healthy transitions to adulthood, working with young people to strengthen community ties, facilitate access to community resources and establish short and long-term goals.


We offer dedicated support to identify, secure and sustain affordable housing, as well as support to access housing and transportation subsidies. We also assist in identifying resources for financial literacy training, skill building workshops, employment opportunities and support with ongoing education goals. Clients participate for an average of one year to improve financial and housing stability, supported by mental health services and tools for self-advocacy such as tenant and employment rights training.


Driven by community-based research, this program model was co-created by youth. Young people continue to provide valuable feedback to improve our offerings.


Free 2 Be is part of a national research project, Making the Shift (MTS), and its work to end youth homelessness in Canada. Led by A Way Home Canada and the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness, the study engages young people with lived experience in the child welfare system to pilot a new model of service, Housing First for Youth with Free 2 Be. Youth participants help government representatives, funders and service providers better understand their needs in order to shift policy, influence investments and make meaningful improvements to Canada’s child welfare system.

Supporting resources

Find mental health resources for youth in the child welfare system here.


Learn more about Housing First for Youth, our partner’s innovative program model, here.


Access research findings and proposed policy changes on child welfare and youth homelessness here.

Program testimonials



“Since becoming a youth involved in Free 2 Be and working with their supportive team, I have been able to make great strides in securing stable housing. I have the confidence to continue to grow as a young adult and develop the skills needed to become a fully self-sufficient member of my community.”

How you can help

Donations are graciously accepted through the WoodGreen Foundation.

Ready to participate?



Registration is by referral only.


To learn more, please contact:

Contact information

Erik Wexler

Program Manager

(416) 405-5098


815 Danforth Ave.
Toronto, ON
M4J 1L2


Monday – Friday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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