Strategies & Actions

Youth Strategy

Banner for Youth Strategy of female youths

What is the youth strategy?

Built through extensive engagement and collaboration with youth, City staff, parents and agency partners, the City of Hamilton’s Youth Strategy maps out a plan for how the City will engage youth aged 14-29 and address the issues they face in Hamilton.

Through this engagement process, five priority themes were identified to ensure youth voices will be integrated into City building. The strategy also makes certain that youth continue to be a part of the process moving forward, through the development of the HamOntYouth Steering Committee.

This 5-year strategy will inform, guide and build awareness about our youth while encompassing their voice as part of the process.

Youth voices, engagement and leadership are central pillars of a strong community and this strategic approach will ensure that youth are included in a meaningful way.

Download the full Youth Strategy Report (PDF, 5 MB)

Priority themes


  1. Improve access to mental health supports
  2. Increase supports for youth drug and alcohol use
  3. Prevent youth drug and alcohol abuse

Icon for Theme 1 Accessing Mental Health and Addictions Supports

Next steps

  • Youth staff team will continue to sit on Hamilton Drug Strategy Prevention Committee.
  • Bring youth to the table to collaborate with staff and provide input.
  • Engage youth to identify barriers and challenges to accessing mental health, drug and alcohol supports.
  • Identify new programs and existing initiatives that can be enhanced to help youth accessing mental health and substance use support.
  • Identify successful models for preventing drug and alcohol use in youth.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders.


  1. Increase employment opportunities for youth
  2. Improve wages of entry-level jobs
  3. Improve access to financial supports for post-secondary education and training

Icon for Theme 2 Accessing Employment and Training

Next steps

  • Identify barriers and challenges to youth 14-29 accessing employment in Hamilton.
  • Identify training needs of youth 14-29 in Hamilton.
  • Identify new programs and existing initiatives that can be enhanced to help youth 14-29 access employment and training opportunities.
  • Identify successful models, and policies to incentivize for businesses entry level jobs for youth under 29.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders.


  1. Improve youth access to safe and affordable housing
  2. Increase supports for youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness

Icon for Theme 3 Access to Safe and Affordable Housing

Next steps

  • Housing
    • Identify the number of youth specific housing units
    • Identify the barriers youth 14-29 face accessing safe and affordable housing
    • Explore successful models to provide youth access to safe and affordable housing
  • Homelessness
    • Youth Staff team to continue sit on the Street Youth Planning Collaborative
    • Understand what causes youth to become homeless here in Hamilton
    • Understand what challenges youth face in shelters
    • Explore successful models, initiatives that could be enhanced for supporting youth who are homeless or at-risk of homelessness.
    • Support the youth response to the Point in Time Connection Homelessness Survey
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders


  1. Foster more cultural awareness and sensitivity in the community
  2. Decrease youth involved with crimes associated to guns, gangs and violence

Icon for Theme 4 enhance Safety and as Sense of Inclusion

Next steps

  • Collaborate with staff from Community Safety and Well Being Plan on Youth Guns, Gangs and Violence
    • Engage key stakeholders and youth 14-29 with lived experience to understand why youth are involved with guns, gangs and violence.
    • Identify models that have been successful in prevention of youth violence.
    • Identify models that have been successful in supporting youth exiting gangs.
  • Collaborate with staff from Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Strategy
    • Engaging with youth from the BIPOC, racialized, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQ+ and disabled communities.
    • Identify barriers, challenges facing youth from these communities.
    • Create a list of training resources for youth serving staff to participate in.
    • Identify models that have been successful in creating more inclusive communities for youth.
  • Collaborate with key stakeholders


  1. Increase opportunities for youth to voice their ideas and opinions
  2. Increase opportunities for youth to participate in decision making
  3. Increase opportunities for youth to develop leadership skills

Icon for Theme 5 Enchance Youth Engagement and Leadership Opportunities

Next steps

  • Encourage and recruit youth to Youth Steering Committee.
  • Provide leadership training for Youth Steering Committee.
  • Host an Annual Youth Summit to engage with youth and partners.
  • Use HamOntYouth brand for all corporate youth initiatives.
  • Enhance and promote youth initiatives encouraging youth voice such as Model City Hall and CityLab.
  • Collaborate with City staff and agency partners on youth programs and initiatives requiring a youth voice.

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Contact us

Jesse Williamson
Project Manager, Strategic Youth Initiatives
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 2599
Email: [email protected]

Irene Heffernan
Senior Project Manager
Phone: 905-546-2424 ext. 4929
Email: [email protected]