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

VIDEO: Young Langley residents celebrate their birthdays with personalized parades

Growing trend amid COVID-19 closures is having decorated vehicles honk past homes

Thieves caught in the act at Aldergrove go-cart track

Three weeks ago, the Langley Quarter Midget Association decided to upgrade security after a theft

What can people still do outside during COVID-19?

A list of ideas that can still be done in order to get a little exercise and fresh air

A call for donations to fight COVID-19 in Langley and elsewhere

B.C. hasn’t run out of protective gear, but supplies are getting low

Evening world update: U.S. restrictions extended 30 days; NY deaths near 1,000

Comprehensive world update, with the latest developments in the COVID-19 crisis

‘It’s up to us: Recently-returned B.C. couple urges Canadians to take COVID-19 seriously

Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

Canada will make sure masks sent by China meet quality standards: Trudeau

Chinese Embassy tweeted that China was sending 30,000 medical masks along with gowns, gloves and goggles

B.C. issues guidelines about distancing, reusable bags to grocery stores amid COVID-19

Hand sanitizer and markers to keep lines two metres are apart are needed, province says

No plans to call in military right now to enforce COVID-19 quarantine: Trudeau

Trudeau unveils $7.5M for Kids Help Phone, $9M for vulnerable seniors amid COVID-19

QUIZ: How much do you know about the Olympics?

Put your knowledge to the test with these 12 questions

B.C. announces $3M for food banks to increase capacity during COVID-19

It is not clear how much of the money will flow towards Greater Victoria food banks

Most Read