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

Boundary hospital ‘ready for a surge,’ hoping it never comes

The emergency department director confirmed there were active COVID-19 cases in the Boundary

COVID-19: Interior Health orders closure of all fitness centres until May 30

The order is subject to revision, cancellation, or extension

FortisBC pausing power disconnections and late-fees amid COVID-19 crisis

Company says they plan to work with customers affected by COVID-19 on a “one on one” basis

Grand Forks and Boundary cancellations, changes due to COVID-19

This newspaper’s list of community events, institutions that change or cancel due to pandemic

Don’t avoid doctor’s office if you need help, say Kootenay Boundary physicians

There are alternatives to coming in physically to offices, docs say

From inside the ER: B.C. doctor tells it like it is from the frontlines of COVID-19

‘Stay home. It’s working,’ says ER doctor in a Q&A discussion, ‘And please don’t worry.’

Dogs are property, not kids, B.C. judge tells former couple

Court decision made on competing lawsuits over Zeus and Aurora — a pit bull and pit bull cross

B.C. senior gives blood for 200th time, has ‘saved’ 600 lives

There was no cutting of cake for Harvey Rempel but he’s challenging youth to start donating blood

Trudeau commits $100M to help food banks amid COVID-19 crisis

Funds will help ‘urgent food needs’ for Canadians awaiting federal emergency benefits to kick in

Couple won’t self-isolate after returning from overseas: Cowichan by-law

New law requires 14 days of self-isolation when returning to Canada

How well can cell phones carry COVID-19? Disinfecting may be wise

‘You want to keep it as clean as you would normally your hands’

3M pushes back on Trump administration call to stop sending N95 masks to Canada

3M says it has already been turning out as many of the N95 masks as possible

B.C. health care workers gain access to virtual health care options

During COVID-19 many clinics have closed, leaving health care workers with nowhere to turn

Most Read