A homeless youth’s belongings under a tarp and garbage bags. (From Marginalized to Magnified report photo)

Youth-led report calls on B.C. government to create plan to end youth homelessness

There are no dedicated programs for youth homelessness at federal, provincial level, report says

A shortage of youth-specific housing options force many homeless teenagers to have to look to unsafe situations, making them vulnerable to substance use, physical violence and exploitation, a new youth-led report has revealed.

The report, released Friday with support of B.C.’s Representative for Children and Youth, is calling on the province to make a clear plan to end youth homelessness in B.C.

Compiled by 16 youth leaders who call themselves Youth Against Homeless B.C., the report includes findings from interviews and surveys of more than 200 young people who have lived or are living on the streets.

ALSO READ: Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ B.C. youth advocate says

“Currently, the magnitude of youth homelessness is still being uncovered with the development of youth homeless counts and, as of yet, there are no dedicated provincial or federal funding programs designed to meet the distinct needs of homeless youth,” the report reads. “Community organizations face a mighty struggle to find the necessary funding to provide the services youth need to exit homelessness.”

The report highlights a number of findings, broken into four categories: pathways into homelessness, impacts of being on the streets and the current barriers to accessing housing as well as cultural and health supports.

According to B.C.’s youth, areas in need of government focus include the “unsafe and non-responsive foster care system,” a shortage of youth-specific housing options and lengthy wait lists to access housing as well as a lack of information about social programs.

READ MORE: ‘Permanent poverty until I die:’ Former foster kids left behind by B.C.’s tuition waiver program

Other findings include youth physically risking their own health and being vulnerable to sexual exploitation and drug use in order to survive, as well as being unable to attend school or maintain a job due to not having a place to stay.

“To add to the complexity of the issue, communities across B.C. are confronted with interconnected challenges impacting youth homelessness such as the toxic drug supply, poverty and increased pressures on underfunded service providers to deal with these issues,” the report reads.

The report calls for provincial government to develop a distinct plan to end youth homelessness with the help of youth with lived experiences.

The 11 recommendations include increasing government income assistance rates and rental subsidies, creating housing that includes harm reduction designed for youth instead of adults, as well as increasing Indigenous-based and other cultural services available to youth.

ALSO READ: Nearly 700 homeless youth in Metro Vancouver point to gaps in housing, advocates say


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Homeless

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district hires new secretary-treasurer

Mark Walsh to join Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools effective April 15

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Adaptation, not blame, required in COVID-19 crisis

Analysis must be about finding out what happened and prevent it happening again, says letter writer

RCMP investigate after dog owner leaves following incident involving pooch, hiker on Notch Hill

Victim reported minor injuries and was treated at the Oceanside Health Centre

Downtown Nanaimo hotel shows love and appreciation for front-line workers

Coast Bastion illuminates windows in the shape of hearts, hopes other buildings do the same

COVID-19 death toll reaches 50 in B.C., while daily case count steadies

B.C. records 34 new cases in the province, bringing total active confirmed cases to 462

B.C. unveils $5M for mental health supports during the COVID-19 pandemic

Will include virtual clinics and resources for British Columbians, including front-line workers

VIDEO: Community rallies around Campbell River fire victims

Emergency Social Services volunteers logged over 100 hours in first day after fire

B.C.’s COVID-19 rent supplement starts taking applications

$300 to $500 to landlords for April, May and June if eligible

Reality TV show about bodybuilders still filming in Okanagan, amid COVID-19

Five bodybuilders from across the country flew to Kelowna to move into a house for a reality TV show

B.C.’s top doctor details prescription for safe long weekend

Yes, it includes hosting an online cooking show

BC SPCA seeks help for abandoned German shepherd puppies

Donations have ‘petered out’ as doors are closed due to COVID-19

Most Read