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Affirming Ground Project

Supporting self-determination through radical acceptance, peer support, and social capital among young people experiencing homelessness

Welcome to Affirming Ground. We are a participatory research team dedicated to backing young people experiencing homelessness to build support networks through peer support. We are passionate about bringing our research to people who can most benefit from it, and who can use it to best benefit others

Check out our video about how peer support specialists build connection with young people experiencing homelessness

Who We Are

We are a participatory team of academic and community-based researchers who partner with organizations supporting young people experiencing homelessness, as well as young people themselves.

Our Why

Young people deserve care and support that respects their desires and interests and honors their self-determination. In recognizing the significant historic mismatch between young people’s needs and conventional service system offerings, we believe critical reflection is necessary to creating care systems that align with what young people say they need. The Affirming Ground Project is fiercely committed to supporting young people to live self-directed lives.

Our Vision

Our guiding vision is that all young people have access to meaningful opportunities for building social capital and places where they feel welcome, and a sense of belonging.

Our Mission

We research and consult on affirming, flexible, and nonjudgmental approaches to supporting the futures young people experiencing homelessness self-determine, desire, and deserve. Dedicated to transforming research into action, we partner with people with lived expertise to increase access to sustainable social capital and to affirming and welcoming spaces, places, and services.

Our Values

Values are an integral part of our team’s work; these values guide our approaches to working together, how we engage in community partnerships, conduct research, and share our work.

Centering Lived Experience

Our participatory research team centers the voices and visions of those on our team with lived experience and expertise of our research topics


We treat one another, and those who collaborate with us, as people first -- this means recognizing that we are all human with many things going on in our lives that shape how we show up

Practicing Humility

We lean into missteps as learning opportunities; we welcome the opportunity to continually learn how to best show up in this work

Making Power Explicit

We recognize that we all come to this work with varied power, privilege, and access to information and opportunities. We seek to make these realities explicit, with an aim towards equity rather than equality.

Multiple Truths

We embrace the reality that multiple, even contradictory, things can be true at the same time. This often means leaning into nuance and complexity rather than simple answers.

What We Do

Our work is centered around three main areas: peer support, social capital, and how to work together as a participatory action research (PAR) team

How do peers (providers with lived experience) support young people experiencing homelessness?

How can we support young people experiencing homelessness in building social capital?

How do PAR teams navigate their work together?

Contact The Affirming Ground Project

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