…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.