Episode 3

Strengthening Family and Natural Supports to Prevent Youth Homelessness

It is crucial to consider the role that family and community connections play in preventing youth homelessness.


Heidi Walter
Jessica Ward
Melody Brewer
Jocelyn Adamo

Live Session on

March 28, 2024

Many young people lose their housing because of challenges and conflicts they experience with their families. Therefore, any effective solution to youth homelessness must consider the important role that family relationships and community connections can play for youth. To prevent youth homelessness, the Family and Natural Supports (FNS) program was developed to help strengthen youths’ relationships with family and other meaningful adults in their lives.

Check out this panel session where you’ll hear inspiring stories from organizations that have successfully implemented Family and Natural Supports programs. Our guests shared their experiences and insights on how to keep youth connected to their communities, which in turn can help stabilize their housing and prevent homelessness. Learn more about our guests below!


HEIDI WALTER is a Program Design and Training Consultant at A Way Home Canada. Through her role, she has provided extensive hands-on coaching and training to community partners across Canada looking to establish FNS programs. Heidi is passionate about supporting youth and families to thrive, and uplifting the voices of young people.


JESSICA WARD is the Senior Manager of Housing Programs at 360°kids. Having worked for over 12 years in youth homelessness, her time overseeing a Youth Reconnect Program has solidified her belief that integrating FNS into housing programs is pivotal in preventing and ending youth homelessness.

MELODY BREWER (Team Lead, CMHA Kelowna) is the team lead for Family and Peer Support programs at Foundry Kelowna. She has been working with families for over 30 years and believes that FNS has been a much needed addition to their services and the community.

JOCELYN ADAMO (Trellis) has over 15 years of experience working with families and young people experiencing of homelessness. She is passionate about using a trauma informed and ‘family first’ approach, and focuses on intergenerational healing in her work.