This page aims to offer:


  • Clear goals and steps in the process of creating a Host Homes Programs

  • A focus on the work within your organization

  • Provides illustrative examples of each step for various Host Homes Providers


If you want to learn more about our partners, check out the Partners Page

The Process of adapting your structure

Step 1.

Program manual

and Model

Step 2.

Plan a budget

Step 3.

Review Bylaws

Step 4.

Staff the program

Step 5.

Marketing &



Program Manual and Model

An explanation of the program and its purpose. 


Things to consider:

  • eligibility of youth,

  • the screening process for hosts,

  • length of stay,

  • expectations of hosts and youth, and

  • staff supports. 


Best practice:

Example: Bridging the Gap's Program Model.


Plan a budget

Planning the allotted budget for the specific program. Thinking about what is included in the cost of the program will help when seeking funding for it. 


Things to consider:

  • How much will be spent on resources for the youth

  • How much will be spent on staff

  • How much will be spent on Stipends for Hosts


review bylaws

It is important to review the legal implications of the program and what can or can't be done in your local municipality.


Staff the program

Design a staffing structure that fits the organizational needs as well as the needs of the service users in the program.


An ideal structure would include separate staff to support the hosts and guests.


Additionally, someone whose focus is to market the program, create presentations, and recruit hosts would also help to strengthen the program. 


Best practices: incorporating youth with lived experience in the hiring process, host recruitment and screening, and as peer support.

Example Job Descriptions:


Marketing and Recruitment

Marketing requires constant outreach with different forms of mediums to make sure a wide audience is reached. Having information sessions geared to possible hosts, youth who may need to access the program, and possible funders all require different approaches. 


Best practices: constant outreach through flyers, facebook posts, twitter, newspaper articles, meeting with news reporters, accessing places where people already meet like churches, schools, or community centres.

Example: Social Media Kit

Click on each item of the list on the right to learn more about the structure and specifics of the organization. 

Youth eligible for the program are considered lower acuity, meaning:

  • they have ways to cope with any mental health concerns they have,

  • they do not have serious addictions,

  • they don't need constant professional support.


Hosts are screened based on their lifestyle, home and understanding of the LGBTQ2S+ community. The length of stay varies depending on the needs of the youth. The first youth is still in program, but 6 have graduated over the years. 

Case workers regularly check in with young people about their perspectives in the program. Use of outcome measurements such as the Casey tool will help with determining youth outcomes in the program. Additionally, youth are asked about their experiences as part of an intentional interview process. 


This program is specific to LGBTQ2S+ youth and provides them with a safe place where their sexual orientation and gender identity is respected and celebrated. 

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

Rather than a stipend, youth in this program pay an affordable agreed upon rent (30% of income). Youth may pay from their source of income whether they have a job or financial assistance (in this case it is Alberta Works). This model helps young people prepare to balance their own finances a incorporate rental costs in their spending.

Staff the program

This program consists of one senior coordinator to support hosts and two case workers that are part of the LGBTQ2S+ community to support youth. When issues arise, this design offers that both hosts and guests feel represented by someone from the community agency.

Boys and Girls Club of Calgary sends out mass communications on the host homes program through various mediums inviting hosts to their information sessions.

Marketing and Recruitment

The Safe Coach is the name of FCSS Host Homes Program. It provides support to youth and families experiencing a wide variety of challenges within their family.This model is a collaborative case management table is included in the wrap around support of these young people. Doctors, community organizations, and psychiatrists come together to personalize support for each young person that include counselling, health care, life skills training, and family mediation.

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

Hosts are provided with a per diem of $20 to support with the costs of having an additional person in the home. 
In cases where youth are under 18 and in school, they are able to receive a supported learners benefit of $800/month from the Alberta provincial government. In these case, FCSS works with the youth and the host to determines what a fair portion of this supplement can be directed to the hosts as compensation.

Staff the program

This program is supported by the resource center coordinator that manages all programs at FCSS. Additionally, a youth and family support worker coordinates with hosts, youth, and family of the youth to support the needs of all three parties and encourage family reunification.

This program has:

  • participated in interviews with the local papers,

  • put out ads in these papers informing people of their information sessions.

  • taken part in local radio segments and

  • posted on the town Facebook page.

They hand out the hard copy materials i.e. small brochures and cards that are marketed differently depending on whether hosts or youth are the audience. 

Marketing and Recruitment

Youth are assessed by BTG caseworker and considered low to mid acuity, they are pre-screened for current addiction or mental health crisis and will be referred to more appropriate shelter programs if needed. Hosts can mentor and offer advice, vetted through CAS internal record checks for anyone over 18 in the home, criminal record check and a home inspection. Young people can stay in a home from 6 months to a year. A condition of being part of it is that youth are expected to commit to 30 hours in the community which can be attending school, going to work, attending counselling, or volunteering.

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

Hosts are provided with a  $35 per diem to support with the costs of having an additional person in their home. Funding is predominantly drawn in from fundraising and grants. Young people are able to get their basic needs allowance from financial services (in this case OW).

Staff the program

This program consists of one program supervisor and 2 host homes case workers (one for each host home/town in the region). Something to highlight about this structure is that the program supervisor focuses on finding funding, recruiting hosts, supporting staff, and the other programs that BTG has while the case workers work to support the hosts and young people that they work with. 

The program supervisor reaches out to the community through presenting at churches, community events, placing advertisements in the newspaper and partnering with Raising the Roof to share advertisements on this national organization's social media platforms.

Something to note about this program is the host retention. Because staff are very respectful of hosts needs, there have been hosts that have consistently opened their home to young people since the program began in 2009

Marketing and Recruitment

Youth with coping mechanisms for their mental health, no history of violence, and no drug dependencies are admitted into the program. 


Prospective Hosts are screened through:

  • the SAFE Home Study assessment,

  • Criminal background/Vulnerable Sector checks,

  • confidentiality agreements.


Training with focus on:

  • Active Listening,

  • De-escalation techniques,

  • Crisis Management. 

Young people can stay for 30-40 days while working with the case management team and/or with family to reconnect. 
This organization's program manual covers the responsibilities of staff, hosts, and youth while also explaining what is required in case of emergency, and how to go about resolving conflicts.

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

With a remuneration of $12/day directed from youth's social assistance (in this case Ontario Works), youth pay an affordable agreed upon rent. 

Staff the program

This program consists of 2 full-time and one part-time staff. The full-time staff work with the homes and provide case management while the part-time staff helps with assessments and works on call to book appointments.

Staff from this program have attended community clubs, churches, and events as guest speakers while also canvasing and developing relationships with other community organizations in Kitchener-Waterloo to develop a network of supports.

This method requires a lot of conversations daily with a lot of people that may not want to become hosts. It is important to keep going and getting the word out so the community can build an awareness of the program.

Marketing and Recruitment

Youth are eligible if they have ministry status. Either through voluntary care agreement or a youth agreement. They typically stay in the home of approved foster families on a night-by-night basis for up to 6 weeks.

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

The Ministry of Child and Family Development funds this program. Hosts are compensated with $30/day. This program compensates higher than the ministry would compensate foster care parents due to the high expectations placed on the hosts. The Bridge Services has developed a strong relationship with the Ministry of Child and Family Development and has a long standing reputation of success which encourages the ministry to continuously fund the program.

Staff the program

This program consists of a caregiver support manager and a host homes support staff member who focus on young people in the program (these outreach workers support other services from this organization). Additionally, a clinical counsellor supports youth or hosts when needed, because of the other services provided by this organization. 

Marketing and recruitment consist of reaching out to trained caregivers and providing them with information on all of their programs. The Bridge services recruits through word of mouth. Once they have interested caregivers, they work with these people to decide whether the Host Home program or one of the other care giving programs is right for these people.

Marketing and Recruitment

Youth are eligible for the program if they: 

  • are considered low risk,

  • undergo the risk assessment, and

  • have two references.

Hosts must complete:

  • 8 hour training,

  • 2 hour graduation, and

  • Online WHMIS, AODA, and

  • Health and Safety courses,

  • a criminal record check,

  • have 2 references. 


The length of stay is up to 3 weeks on a night-by-night basis. This program is accredited by Nightstop Depaul and follows the UK model with Canadian adaptations. 

Plan a budget

Program Manual and Model

Hosts are compensated with $15 per day a young person stays in their home. 
This budget includes necessities for hosts to keep in their home and give to the youth such as basket of items such as toiletries and clean pj's, fresh underwear. 

Staff the program

This program consists of one Nightstop Team Lead and two Youth and Host Family Workers. As 360°kids plans to develop a longer term model called Supportive Lodging, a program coordinator will be hired so both programs can have a coordinator dedicated to finances, organization, recruitment, and youth support.

360°kids asks current hosts and youth to speak with interested volunteers at  training sessions and other social events in order for interested volunteers to see how the program can affect their lives as well as the lives of any young people they welcome into their home. 

360°kids work hard to maintain staff engagement. They send out seasonal newsletters, with information about religious holidays, recipes like how to cook halal meat, or vegetarian options, and information about the program.


The Nightstop team also hosts regular socials and training as another way to maintain engagement.

Marketing and Recruitment

  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
  • Facebook - Grey Circle
  • Twitter - Grey Circle
  • YouTube - Grey Circle
  • Instagram - Grey Circle

© Raising the Roof.(2018)

Content by Pamela Sariyannis. 

Design and Website by Yas Salame.

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This toolkit is an initiative

of Raising the Roof.