About the YAP


The YAP Tool is a non-clinical, strengths-based assessment of youth who are at-risk of or experiencing homelessness that strives to be as accurate as possible, in a non-prescriptive, youth-driven way.

How Does the YAP Tool Work?

The YAP Tool consists of a pre-screen questionnaire followed by a more robust strengths-based interview designed to inform five narrative domains (Housing Need, Social Networks and Connections, Health and Wellness, Daily Living, Attitudes and Behaviours). Combined, the domains provide those working with young people a deeper understanding of the individual’s experience, thus a clearer direction to prioritize supports. The tool provides a final narrative summary of recommendations for referral and supports which must be reviewed and approved by the youth.

First Step

Readiness Assessment

Second Step

Two-day Training

Third Step

Train the Trainer Certification

Fourth Step

Ongoing Support and Technical Assistance

Understanding Youth Homelessness

All youth experience challenges behaviorally and emotionally at some point in their lives; however, this does not mean all youth will experience homelessness. There are factors associated with youth that cannot be considered or considered in the same way in comparison to adult homelessness including:

    • As part of the transition to adulthood, youth are at varying levels of development both cognitively and emotionally and may not have acquired certain skills to live independently.
    • They often avoid mainstream homeless-serving systems out of fear of authorities.
    • There are complications associated with guardianship and family obligations related to the provision of basic needs.
    • Youth become entrenched into street life very quickly although they are not always struggling with the same complexities as the adult street population.


The above suggests that there must be a way to more completely and consistently understand what each youth is dealing with on an individual level, one youth at a time. To meet these needs, a strengths-focus is required to ensure developmental supports and opportunities that promote success, rather than those that just get rid of or ignore failures. While this can be a daunting concept, the YAP Tool is an example of how to practically implement a strengths-based philosophy. Given the YAP Tool’s focus on five key domains (Housing Needs, Social Networks and Connections, Health and Wellness, Daily Living, and Attitudes and Behaviours), it can more accurately assess need and triage support within the prevention continuum that exists within a community’s response to youth homelessness.

Our Partners

A Way Home Canada logo

Funding Partners

Ontario government logo
Alberta government logo
Employment and Social Development Canada logo

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