top of page

Peer Support + Lived Expertise

Young people face many adversities before and after leaving home.


Service systems are often rigid/standardized and do not adequately account for young people’s trauma and adaptive distrust.

Young people are disaffiliated generally and disaffiliated from services and largely cope on their own. 

Peer support offers nonjudgmental and flexible support through shared lived experience and genuine interest and care for the young person, what they have been through, and what they want for themselves. 

Organizations that center lived expertise recognize the inherent value of those who have traveled certain paths in helping others travel them. 

How can organizations who work with young people experiencing homelessness better elevate lived expertise?

Affirming Ground Project + Dry Bones Denver

The Affirming Ground Project has been working in partnership with Dry Bones Denver to explore how to best integrate the lived expertise of friends (individuals with lived experiences of homelessness) at their organization. Funded by Americorps, we have specifically been exploring: 

  • What is a process for meaningfully integrating lived expertise at Dry Bones? ​

  • How do you create a participatory team to do this work? ​

  • What impact does building a participatory team have on its members and on the organization? 

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

Peers center self-directed growth among young people, rather than program-directed change outcomes. Peers recognize growth happens in seasons, has ups and downs and requires ongoing support through the journey. Learn more here.


Peers, through relationships with young people, invite possibility and create containers of hope. Learn more here.


Young people experience peer support as uniquely caring and supportive. Learn more here​.


The Affirming Ground Project and The Housing Outreach Project-Collaborative (HOP-C) co-hosted a webinar about peer support for young people experiencing homelessness. Watch the recording from the webinar here.


Affirming Ground team members reflect on the experiences of peer support specialists. Click below to listen. 

Experiences from Peer Support SpecialistsAffirming Ground
00:00 / 1:02:52

Time Stamps:

0:00 Getting started as a peer

7:25 The insider/outsider experience

36:30: How (not) having an agenda intersects with recovery

bottom of page