What do providers need to be successful in supporting youth in a healthy, positive way?

This toolkit was created with these guiding principles.

Consider youth context and be willing to understand and support:
  • Every young person knows what they want and what they need, they just might need support from a caring adult to get there.
  • Youth should not be asked to bear the weight of systemic deficiencies.
  • It is okay to call out how the system doesn’t accommodate the needs of our youth.


  • Our system does not operate under the assumption that youth know what they need.
  • Our system does not operate in service to young people, especially young people experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability. 
  • As a result, young people are disempowered from decision-making, and disenfranchised from pursuing opportunities that align with their needs and interests. 
  • The experience of homelessness and/or housing instability means a young person is more reliant on this ineffective/broken system for support and resources to meet their needs.

What Providers Can Do — Positive Youth Engagement

As providers/adults who support and advocate for young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability, it is our job to ensure decision-making power is in their hands, and that they can access opportunities they need and want to pursue.

  • Acknowledge and honor the resilience and potential of young people.
  • Understand how the system has worked against the access to opportunities for young people experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability.
  • Listen, center, and elevate youth voice — everything must be youth centered and youth led.
  • What do youth see and identify as their own needs and how to we bring forward support to meet those.

Strategies and approaches

Here are a few strategies that model positive youth engagement to ensure youth voice is centered, and that we are working in support of the needs they identify.

  • Motivational interviewing – (define)
  • Trauma informed care – (define)
  • Social emotional learning – (define)
  • Racial equity (define)
  • Gender equity (define)

AMP’s Top Ten Tips for Engaging with Young People


Demographic-specific resources

Do we need to add more information (stats) to paint the picture of why the resources we are highlighting are important? Ex: this % of youth are x amount more likely to … 

  • Catch-all for resources most relevant to demographics of youth experiencing homelessness or housing instability(DV/SV support, legal support, LGBTQA, culturally-supportive resources, etc.)


Needs are varied and changing. Knowing where to find others championing youth in schools and communities will amplify and deepen your capacity to support a young person experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability.

  • Explore dynamics of the individual youth’s network
  • Connect and partner with community resource providers serving young people. 

List of Champions — Resource hubs

  • NW Education Access
  • Community and Technical Colleges — Student Services
  • CTC — WorkForce Education
  • The REACH Center
  • Masonic Charities
  • A Way Home Washington — Anchor Communities Initiative
  • Office of Homeless Youth — Youth Homelessness Demonstration Projects
  • Treehouse
  • Think about adding more school-based resources.