City of Hamilton launches its first Youth Strategy
HAMILTON, ON –Yesterday, City Council approved Hamilton’s first Youth Strategy, a five-year plan for how the City will engage youth aged 14-29 and collaboratively address the pressing issues they face in Hamilton.
Through extensive public engagement and collaboration with youth, staff, parents and youth-serving agency partners, Hamilton’s Youth Strategy identifies five priority areas, and 14 objectives. The top five priorities areas include:
- Accessing Mental Health and Addiction Supports
- Accessing Employment and Training
- Accessing Safe and Affordable Housing
- Enhance Safety and a Sense of Inclusion
- Enhance Youth Engagement and Leadership
A key component of the youth engagement process involved the creation of Hamilton’s Youth Steering Committee, branded as HamOntYouth. Established to bring together youth who work, live and play in Hamilton, with the common goal to collaborate with City staff to identify projects, initiatives and opportunities to make Hamilton a more youth-friendly city.
While the work originally started in 2018, it was delayed by the impacts of COVID-19 and a youth re-engagement project took place in 2021 to identify how youth priorities have shifted since 2018.
Through a combination of preliminary research, surveys, focus groups and discussions with the Youth Steering Committee, the strategy was developed to inform, guide and build awareness about Hamilton’s youth, while encompassing their voice as part of the process. While there are similarities in the priorities that were identified during the 2018 and 2021 engagement, the order of importance shifted, and new priorities emerged.
Some of the next steps in the Youth Strategy will include the expansion of the Youth Steering Committee, building out agency partner and staff steering committees, developing an evaluation framework for the plan and conducting an annual report each year to determine how the strategy has progressed.
Youth who would like to get involved are encouraged to join the conversation by following along on Instagram @HamOntYouth.
- There are currently 24 active members of the Youth Steering Committee.
- 277 youth surveys, 177 parent surveys, 74 agency partner surveys were completed as part of the 2021 youth re-engagement process.
- 52 youth, 39 agency partners and 10 parents participated in focus groups as part of the 2021 youth re-engagement process.
Hamilton's Youth Strategy demonstrates our commitment to fostering a community where youth can thrive and be a part of city-building. We are excited that our community will have its first Youth Steering Committee working on five priority areas: mental health and addiction, employment and training, safety and inclusion, and lastly, engagement and leadership. Our Youth Strategy and the Youth Steering Committee's work will be vital to supporting and amplifying youth voices in Hamilton.Mayor Fred Eisenberger
Youth voices, engagement and leadership are central pillars of a strong community and we are so excited to bring this strategic approach forward, as it will ensure that youth are a part of Hamilton’s future in a meaningful way.Angie Burden, General Manager, Healthy & Safe Communities Department
The Youth Steering Committee is so proud to have been a part of the development of Hamilton’s first Youth Strategy. We are excited to continue our work alongside parents, City staff, agency partners and other youth from across the community, to ensure its objectives are realized.Lilian Guy, Hamilton Youth Steering Committee Representative