Estimated number of Canadians who experience homelessness every night. (S. Gaetz, T. Gulliver, and T. Richter. 2014. The State of Homelessness in Canada: 2014. Toronto: The Homeless Hub Press.)
Approximate percentage of Canada’s homeless population between age 16 and 24. (S. Gaetz, J. Donaldson, T. Richter, and T. Gulliver. 2013. The State of Homelessness in Canada 2013. Toronto: Canadian Homelessness Research Network Press.)
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, 433-456.)
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.)
Percentage of youth in shelters who identify as a part of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual, Two-spirited, Queer communities. (City of Toronto. 2013. Street Needs Assessment 2013. Toronto: City of Toronto.)
Percentage of youth who identify fighting, physical abuse, psychological abuse, parental drug and alcohol-related issues, and sexual abuse as the major reasons for leaving home. (K. Kufeldt, M. Durieux, M. Nimmo, M., and McDonald M. 1992. Providing shelter for street youth: are we reaching those in need? Child Abuse and Neglect, 16,187-99.)
Percentage of youth experiencing homelessness from middle and upper-income families. (101 Things you Need to Know About Youth Homelessness. 2006. Canadian Student Leadership Conference at St. Thomas University New Brunswick. Fredericton.)
Homeless youth affected by mental health concerns. 70% of homeless youth are affected by mental health concerns after experiencing homelessness for more than four years. (Yonge Street Mission. 2009. Changing Patterns of Street Involved Youth. Toronto.)
The rate of homeless youth reporting at least one instance of criminal victimization in the previous 12 months. 63.6% report being victims of violent crime at least once. (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. | Employment and Social Development Canada. 2016. Homelessness Partnering Strategy: 2005-2014 Highlights of the National Shelter Strategy. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada.)
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.)
Aboriginal and Black youth are over-represented amongst homeless youth populations. (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.)
A high percentage of homeless youth were in the care of child protection services. (Youth. 2016. Canadian Observatory on Homelessness.)
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, 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.)
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.
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).
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.)
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.)
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.
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