MAP premieres ‘Searching for Home’: a companion documentary to the Transitioning Youth Out of Homelessness study

TORONTO – The short film Searching for Home follows Sonia, Devin, and Anthony, three young people participating in the Transitioning Youth Out of Homelessness study led by MAP scientist Dr. Naomi Thulien. Set amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the film is an intimate portrayal of young people on the margins.

Premiering on National Housing Day, the goal of the film is to help spark a national conversation about how Canada can better support youth who are – in many ways – trapped in cycles of poverty and homelessness, through no fault of their own.

All three protagonists of the film are exiting homelessness. Alone at 16, Sonia arrived as a refugee in Canada and immediately entered the shelter system. Now, she’s in college pursuing a practical nursing diploma. Devin is a young artist and university student living on his own after leaving a challenging home situation. Grappling with anxiety and depression, Devin is using his art to heal. Anthony has spent most of his life in foster care, group homes, and shelters. Now, he’s choosing his own path, living in an apartment with his partner and dog.

Alongside the protagonists’ stories, Searching for Home highlights the potential of portable rent subsidies as a novel and promising intervention to help end homelessness. A year of portable rent subsidies can be six times less expensive than an annual shelter stay, and can give people more autonomy and a better shot at success in forging a permanent pathway out of homelessness.

Watch the short film for free at

Listen to an interview with the filmmakers in a special episode of the MAPmaking podcast.

Learn more about the Transitioning Youth Out of Homelessness study.

The next phase of Dr. Thulien’s research will provide youth who are exiting homelessness with portable rent subsidies along with a co-designed (with youth who have experienced homelessness) leadership program and coach. This MAP research is generously supported by Even the Odds (a partnership between Staples Canada and MAP) and the Home Depot Canada Foundation. Learn more

Watch the film