Youth Homelessness Prevention

When a youth calls Argus for shelter, our first step is to work with them to prevent or end their homelessness experience. Research shows the longer a young person experiences homelessness the greater the consequences to their health, opportunities and future.

At Argus, we use a strength-based approach to preventing or ending youth homelessness. We do this by:

Increasing attachments to family (parents and extended family) when it is safe to do so

Increasing attachments to natural supports when it is safe to do so

Referring youth, families and community to the right resources at the right time

Educating youth, families and professionals on the importance of Housing First

Citing research outlining the implications of youth homelessness

Advocating for youth by encouraging community organizations and institutions to adopt Housing First versus Shelter First referral practices

Recognizing that youth experiencing homelessness are not a homogeneous group and each person's situation is unique

Decreasing assumptions about a young person’s family, resources, strengths and abilities

At Argus, our goal is to end or prevent a young person from becoming homeless within 6 hours of their call to us. If we can’t prevent their homeless experience, we will help them explore safe, temporary accommodation and provide them with the resources to support permanent housing.

Emergency Shelter

Homelessness prevention isn’t always possible. Sometimes, young people need to access emergency shelter, on a short-term basis, until they can find a place to call home. Argus operates Waterloo Region’s largest youth specific emergency shelter. Our emergency shelters are unique. They provide a home-like setting designed to model housing stability and foster youth engagement.

Argus’ shelter locations offer:

Rapid Re-Housing & Family Reconnection Services


Weekly goal setting

Health, school and employment re-integration planning assistance

Our emergency shelter utilizes a rigorously tested evidence based Service Prioritization Data Assessment Tool (SPDAT), created by Org Code.

If you are a youth between the ages of 16-21 in need of emergency shelter, please call us!

Housing-Based Support Services

Argus also offers intensive housing outreach support to youth experiencing persistent homelessness through our work with STEP Home. Step Home includes a set of 12 interrelated programs in Waterloo Region designed to end and prevent persistent homelessness and foster respect, hope, home and community.

Social Enterprise – Uptown Thrift

Uptown Thrift is a job creation social enterprise which focuses on the sale of good quality, reusable items. Uptown Thrift exists to create low barrier, deliberately inclusive employment for youth in order to afford a place to call home and to develop skills, lead and thrive. 100% of store proceeds are used to create youth employment. Our goal is to create employment for 25 youth in 2017.

You can help by donating good quality gently used clothing, household and décor items, furniture, kitchenware.

We will pick up your gently used furniture from the garage or front porch!

Employability Skills

From 2010-2015, Argus (lead sponsoring organization) has provided employability skills through work experience in agreement with Employment and Social Development Canada. Our programs help young people develop skills so that they can compete in today’s job market!