Phoenix is a non-profit, community based organization located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. At Phoenix we believe people matter – all people. Since 1987, Phoenix has been dedicated to supporting youth between the ages of 11 and 24, families, and communities across multiple locations in Halifax. Our team of caring professionals recognizes that each person who comes to us has unique needs and personal strengths. We believe that people are the leaders in their own lives; Phoenix is a leader in supporting them.
We believe that people matter. All people. We all have the right to respect, dignity, support, and the opportunity to thrive.
Together with the community, we support youth and families in their journey to thrive. We are a voice for social justice and community engagement.
Our History - A Look Through the Years...
It all began with a small group of community-minded people. These people were concerned by the growing number of youth lacking adequate housing and supports. In partnership with St. Paul’s Homes, the dream of Phoenix House became a reality in 1987. Over the years, and from these humble beginnings, Phoenix has developed and strengthened, based on the needs of the community to become Phoenix Youth Programs.
Our approach is informed by the voices of the youth and families/caregivers we serve, important social justice considerations, best practice research, and the wisdom we have gathered from working closely with community, provincial and national partners.
Phoenix is known locally, regionally and nationally for excellence and innovation. Most importantly, Phoenix has supported thousands of young people, their families and their communities.
Below is a look through the years of Phoenix’s growth since inception:
1987 Phoenix House opens its doors
As a result of many young people being denied financial aid and housing, and living on the streets with no place to go, five community members begin meeting in 1984 to discuss the city’s housing and youth homelessness crisis. In 1987 St. Paul’s Home donates the use of their first property to Phoenix, and in February, 1987 Phoenix House opens its doors. The ten-bed home for youth 16 to 24 year olds, is named after the mythical bird of ancient times which rises from its own ashes, strong and full of promise, and is simply named Phoenix House.
1988 Follow-Up Program launches
This after-care program supports the success of Phoenix “graduates” by maintaining a connection for years to come for youth who have “aged out” of Phoenix.
1992 Supervised Apartment Program (SAP) launches - renamed 'Phoenix Homes for Independence' (PHI) in 2016
This semi-independent housing program provides a live-in support person who is available to youth as they prepare for independent living. By 1993, Phoenix had founded three supportive homes for youth 16 – 24 years old.
The program was renamed in 2016 to better reflect its nature. PHI includes three homes - not apartments - for youth who reside as roommates, where one roommate is a Phoenix staff member. Young people living in this program are developing abilities and skills to live independently.
1992 First Annual Nutcracker Luncheon - renamed in 2015 to 'Phoenix Holiday Luncheon'
Phoenix’s first signature event is born. The first luncheon is held in the basement of St. Andrew’s Church. It now sells out to crowds of 800+.
1994 Phoenix Centre for Youth (PCFY) opens its doors
The walk-in centre for youth 16 – 24 years old offers housing supports, advocacy, parenting support, a nurse, and emergency assistance, including food, clothing, and laundry facilities.
1994 Phoenix launches Health Services partnership with IWK
An on-site nurse provides healthcare services to youth 16 – 24 who are participating in a Phoenix program.
1998 Officially “Phoenix Youth Programs”
Originally entitled Long Term Services for Youth Association, we adopt the name Phoenix Youth Programs.
2000 Phoenix Learning and Employment Centre (PLEC) opens its doors
The centre provides youth 16 – 24 years old with opportunities for pre-employment and employment supports, life skills, and educational opportunities.
2000 Special Initiatives Program (SPIN) launches
SPIN provides opportunities for youth to develop relationships, build confidence and new skills, and develop leadership skills by participating in therapeutic arts and recreation activities.
2000 First Annual Celebrity Dreamscape - renamed in 2012 to 'Dreamscape'
Phoenix volunteers develop a second signature event… gala style. A Midsummer Night’s Dream is held at the Westin Nova Scotian and evolves years later to include performances from the Phoenix Community Choir and some of Canada’s best entertainers.
2000 Food for Phoenix Program launches
The Phoenix Church Committee and the Food for Phoenix Program is established. An important part of the programming at Phoenix Centre for Youth, dedicated volunteers commit their time and effort over many years to ensure that youth visiting the centre don’t go hungry.
2001 Parent Support Program launches at Phoenix Centre for Youth
This program provides parents 16 to 24 years old with advocacy and assistance in accessing supports and resources related to parenting and providing for their children. while providing needed baby-care items and emergency supplies.
2001 Phoenix Shelter opens its doors
This 20-bed facility offers safe emergency housing, an on-site nurse, clothing, food, and other daily essentials, as well as advocacy and support in relation to needs identified by youth 16 – 24 years old.
2001 Phoenix launches the Open Studio Art Program in partnership with AGNS
With the guidance of local accomplished artists, youth 16 – 24 have the opportunity to explore a range of mediums and forms of artistic expression. Open Studio and our partnership with the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia is an important part of Phoenix's Special Initiatives programming.
2002 Prevention Program launches - renamed 'Phoenix Youth and Family Therapy' (PYFT) in 2016
The program is developed based on feedback and suggestions from 16 – 24 year old Phoenix service-users about the kinds of supports that would have been helpful in their younger teen years, and the suffering and challenges this might have prevented for them.
A team of masters-level social workers offers early intervention therapy with a strong advocacy component for 11 – 19 year olds and their families/caregivers. This experienced team assists youth and caregivers in addressing a wide array of life challenges, from home, school, and peer difficulties to poverty and discrimination.
2011 Phoenix Community Choir takes flight
An important part of Phoenix's Special Initiatives programming, youth get the chance to push past their inhibitions and lift their voice in song while building skills, confidence, improved mental health and a sense of community. Open to all Phoenix youth.
2011 Phoenix Youth & Community Centre in Mulgrave Park (PYCC) opens its doors
Preceded by several years of working within local junior high schools facilitating girls and boys groups, organizing workshops and conferences with and for youth, collaborating in the development of teen centers, and providing after-school programs.
In 2011, an exciting opportunity arises and the focus of this program shifts. Phoenix is invited by residents of the Mulgrave Park community to collaborate in the design and development of fun, meaningful and relevant programs and opportunities for their youth starting at age 12. The center, welcoming of youth, parents, and community members, soon opens its doors in the heart of the community and offers after school programming, themed groups and events, arts and recreation, leadership, community building projects, and education and employment-related programs and supports.
2011 Phoenix Housing Support Program launches
Working in harmony with counterparts in the mental health and addictions community of support, the program provides outreach supports to help youth transition from emergency housing to their own apartments, and address any obstacles to maintaining stable housing.
2012 Phoenix Youth Outreach Program (PYOP) launches
This program is designed to support young people “where they are” both geographically and emotionally. The program provides outreach and advocacy supports, helping to connect young people living anywhere in HRM to mental and physical health supports, parenting and crisis supports, income assistance, safe housing, and community resources.
2012 Phoenix Trusteeship Program launches
Aimed to assist youth maintain or secure rental accommodations and to provide education around financial literacy.
2012 Nova Scotia Community Sector Council is formed
Working in partnership with the Federation of Community Organizations for over six years, Phoenix helps to establish the Nova Scotia Community Sector Council.
2015 Phoenix Supportive Housing Program is established
This program was formed as a way to offer coordinated and complimentary, yet distinct housing services between Phoenix House and the Supervised Apartment Program.
2015 Phoenix Rebrand
In 2013, Phoenix youth involved in our therapy, outreach and community programming taking place in Mulgrave Park expressed concerns about the public’s perception that Phoenix works solely with homeless youth. With this in mind, Phoenix undertook what was termed internally as the 'Identity Shift project' from 2013 - 2015 to do some agency-wide “soul-searching”, in an effort to clearly define what it is we do. This research was helpful in many ways, including adjusting the way we communicate about our work publically.
In 2014 Phoenix was the grateful recipient of in-kind support from Bits.co, and with their help,our brand and messaging was redefined to make it more inclusive of the work we do and the people we work with. With a new vision, mission, website, and print collateral,our look and the words we use to represent Phoenix now comprehensively reflect who we are.
Boards of Governance
Phoenix Youth Program is governed by a Board of Directors. Phoenix's Foundation is governed by a Board of Trustees. These professionals bring skills, knowledge and passion for the work of Phoenix. They oversee our strategic direction and sound financial management.
Meet our Board Members