Supportive Housing for Young Mothers (SHYM)

Families experiencing homelessness are mostly single parent families—led primarily by women. Women parenting on their own enter shelters at twice the rate of two parent families.

It has been shown through work with teenage single mothers that as a group,  they face many challenges in finding a safe, affordable place to live. These include the following:

  • Affordable housing in safe neighborhoods.
  • Discrimination due to age, family status, source or level of income, and in some cases, their race or culture.
  • Women under 19 years old often need a co-signer for a lease. This can be difficult without supportive family members.
  • Many young women do not have a reference from a previous landlord because they have not rented in the past.
  • Some women may have credit issues that create problems when signing a lease.

Since legislative changes were made in Nova Scotia in 2001, youth under 19 years old are not eligible for income assistance unless they can prove that they cannot live with a family member. In these situations, each young woman must find supportive housing. These changes have led some young mothers to live with an abusive partner, exploitative family member, or another individual who does not have the safety and security of mother and child in mind.

Young mothers and their children also face many risks to their health and well being, especially if they are isolated and without support. These include issues associated with poor prenatal care, higher rates of anemia and fetal death, premature/low birth weight babies, low rates of breastfeeding, high rates of exposure to violence and abuse by a partner, ex-partner, or family member, increased incidence of infant/child visits to hospital emergency rooms, and delays in child development.

Young mothers are also more likely to become exposed to housing that is unsafe or pose health risks to themselves and their children. They may experience frequent moves and changes to a child’s school/day care, or experience poverty – resulting in additional problems (stress, poor health and nutrition, limited options). We recognize that young mothers will have difficulties returning to work or school, and may rely on social assistance as a long-term solution. Chronically high levels of stress and instability are a result of all of these factors.

Children are often put at risk for higher rates of difficulties later in life, which include conflict with the law, teen pregnancy, and failure to complete school.

We are providing hope for the future. 

“I have a home and I have the support – this is what I needed all along.”


What is Supportive Housing for Young Mothers (SHYM)?

SHYM provides supportive housing, parenting support, and life skills development for at risk young single mothers ages 16 to 24. SHYM is open to young mothers in their third trimester of pregnancy or who are independently parenting their child or children, and are in need of supportive housing. SHYM also provides housing for at risk single mothers who are attending a post secondary institution full-time.


Young women ages 16 to 24 who are in their third trimester of pregnancy who are independently parenting their child or children.

SHYM Offers

  • A safe, nurturing environment to learn about and focus on parenting.
  • Participants receive a self-contained two-bedroom apartment.
  • Access to common areas such as a program room, children’s playroom and backyard playground.
  • Individualized case management and home visitation support.
  • Group programming incorporating community members and resources.
  • 24-hour access to on-site staff.

How to Apply

Make an appointment to complete an intake. Self referrals are always welcome.

Please contact the Program Coordinator for more information at: