Housing, homelessness, and care trajectories among young people who use drugs in Vancouver

The proposed study will employ longitudinal qualitative and ethnographic methods to examine how urban young people who use drugs (YPWUD) navigate experiences of housing and homelessness across time. Cities like Vancouver are creating more comprehensive and integrated systems of services for YPWUD, including programs that aim to simultaneously address their housing and care needs (e.g. supportive housing with on-site access to harm reduction, opioid agonist therapies). Innovative social science research is needed to describe how particular supportive and temporary modular housing models can both ameliorate and exacerbate health and social harms among YPWUD, including overdose. The proposed anthropological and community-based participatory action research study will generate new knowledge to support the development, adaptation and scale up of targeted housing and substance use care interventions for YPWUD. Working together with a Youth Advisory Council comprised of YPWUD and youth co-researchers, study findings will be disseminated via youth-driven outputs aimed at a broad public; presentations and community reports for youth, their providers and key decision makers; and press releases, media interviews, and social media engagement.