In Numbers

35,000-40,000

Estimated number of young people who experience homelessness in Canada every year (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

20%

Approximate percentage of Canada’s homeless population between age 13 and 24. (S. Gaetz, T. Gulliver, and T. Richter. 2014. The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2014. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.)

2,000

Estimated number of homeless youth in Toronto every night. (B. O’Grady and S. Gaetz. 2002. Making money: exploring the economy of young homeless workers. Work, Employment, and Society, 16[3], 433-456.)

39

Average life expectancy for a person experiencing homelessness in Canada. (B. Trypuc, and J. Robinson. 2009. Homeless in Canada: A funder’s primer in understanding the tragedy on Canada’s streets. King City: Charity Intelligence Canada.)

77.5%

Percentage of youth who indicated that a key reason they left home was an inability to get along with parents. Young people also identified that abusive relationships within the household were a significant cause of their homelessness, as were mental health and addiction problems among their parents. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

63.1%

Percentage of homeless youth who identified physical, sexual, or other forms of abuse as contributing to their homelessness. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

Nearly 1 in 5

Number of homeless youth in US/Canada study that were identified as experiencing some form of human trafficking. (Loyola University New Orleans. 2016. Labor and Sex Trafficking Among Homeless Youth: A Ten-City Study Executive Summary. New Orleans: Loyola University New Orleans.)

57.8%

Percentage of homeless youth who indicated some kind of involvement with child protection services. 38% of those who “aged out” of care suggested a link between that event and their subsequent homelessness. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

29.5%

Percentage of homeless youth who identify as LGBTQ2S (lesbian, gay, bisexual, Transgender, two-spirit, queer). (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

30.6%

Percentage of youth in shelters who identify as Indigenous. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

28.2%

Percentage of youth in shelters who identify as members of racialized communities (non-Indigenous). (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

85.4%

Percentage of homeless youth who fall into the “high symptom/distress” category for mental health. 42% reported at least one suicide attempt. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

59.6%

Percentage of homeless and street-involved youth reporting violent victimization. They are 6 times more likely to be victimized than the general population. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, S. Kidd, and Kaitlin Schwan. 2016. Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness; A Way Home Canada; National Learning Community on Youth Homelessness.)

$4.5 to 6 billion

Annual cost of homelessness in Canada. This figure “makes a strong case for shifting our focus from an emergency response … to prevention and rehousing.” (S. Gaetz. 2012. The Real Cost of Homelessness: Can We Save Money by Doing the Right Thing? Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.)

More Facts

The longer youth are homeless, the more they are exposed to the risks of sexual and economic exploitation and the more likely they are to experience trauma, declining health, nutritional vulnerability, and addictions. (J.F. Boivin, E. Roy, N. Haley, and G. Galbaud du Fort. 2005. The health of street youth: A Canadian perspective. Canadian Journal of Public Health, 96[6], 432-437.)

Toronto is the second most expensive of 33 communities across Canada in which to buy a home. An annual income of $87,407 was needed to afford the average home in Toronto, which cost $641,617. (Housing. 2016. Toronto’s Vitals Signs Report 2016. Toronto Foundation.)

Youth experiencing homelessness …

… are resilient and driven.

The most common characteristics of youth experiencing homelessness is a determination to overcome the circumstances that lead to their homelessness and a desire to improve their lives and learn the skills they need to be housed and employed.

… face unique barriers.

Homeless Canadians share common concerns such as a lack of access to affordable housing. But homeless youth face their own unique barriers. For example, for many reasons, homeless youth typically have not gained the skills and experience to live independently (Youth. 2016. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness). Similarly, with Toronto’s youth unemployment rate at 43.5%, many young people face difficulties finding jobs (S. Geobey. 2013. The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Ontario, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives). Still, homeless youth experience additional barriers such a lack of social supports, trauma, mental health concerns, low education, and a hesitance on the part of some employers to hire homeless youth because of stereotypes and a fear that they may not be able to maintain employment (A. Noble. 2012. It’s Everybody’s Business: Engaging the Private Sector in Solutions to Youth Homelessness. Raising the Roof).

… often experience difficult situations at home.

There is a perception that youth leave home for the “fun” and “excitement” of the streets. The reality is that the majority of youth are running “from” something rather than “to” something.

The body of research on youth homelessness shows that difficult family situations and conflict as well as physical, sexual, and/or emotional abuse are underlying factors in youth homelessness. Other strains on the family may stem from challenges young people themselves are facing (e.g. substance use, mental health, learning disabilities, struggles with the education system, involvement in the legal system). The causes of such behaviours may include stresses associated with parental behaviour, such as alcohol or drug use. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, K. Buccieri, J. Karabanow, and A. Marsolais. [Eds.]. 2013. Youth Homelessness in Canada: Implications for Policy and Practice. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.)

… are at high risk of violence on the street.

Youth who are homeless face increased risk of crime and violence such as robbery and sexual assault. (S. Gaetz, B. O’Grady, and K. Buccieri. 2010. Surviving Crime and Violence Street Youth and Victimization in Toronto. Toronto: Justice for Children and Youth and Homeless Hub.)

… are at a point of opportunity.

Many homeless youth are scared, feel alone, and lack the confidence that comes with growing up in a caring environment. But when a young person is supported to find housing, family and community connections, life skills, and employment, they are less likely to remain homeless in the future and require social assistance. Your support enables Eva’s to play an important role at a critical turning point in young peoples’ lives.

Give Toronto’s street youth a fresh start.

Our award-winning programs have been proven to help homeless youth lead productive, self-sufficient and healthy lives.

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