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

WATCH: North Okanagan seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

The Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

KGH Foundation establishes COVID-19 response fund to support frontline workers

Doctors, nurses and staff have been challenged to pivot operations to prepare for the COVID-19 pandemic

General exposure to public low after inmate tests positive for COVID-19: Interior Health

The Okanagan Correctional Centre inmate is receiving appropriate care

Children of frontline workers to return to Central Okanagan schools

Approximately 500 K-6 students will return as 25 schools open doors on Monday

‘Hold our line’: 29 new cases of COVID-19 announced in B.C.

Saturday’s number of new cases marks the lowest in weeks.

COVID-19: Staying home in Shuswap is difficult when you don’t have one

As the snow flies, people without homes in Salmon Arm talk about how tough life is

Okanagan family shares story of son’s cancer recovery to encourage blood donation

Finlay Ritson’s parents can’t donate blood, but hope his story will encourage others to do so

Critic, workers’ group ‘disappointed’ Trudeau chose Amazon to distribute PPE

Amazon Canada said in an email to The Canadian Press that it is working with Canada Post, Purolator

COVID-19: ‘Think before you click,’ north Okanagan city says

City of Armstrong urges residents stay safe online as phone, email scams on rise amid pandemic

North Okanagan district discourages campfires amid COVID-19

Campfire ban in effect for RDCO but not for neighbour district in the north

Vernon Superstore sees long lineups amid COVID-19

Long lineups Saturday evidence customers following social-distancing protocols

Full World COVID-19 update: National Guard collect ventilators in New York; Spain, Italy improve

Comprehensive coronavirus update with news from around the world.

COVID-19: Upcoming season a question mark for Okanagan drive-in movie theatre

Enderby’s Starlight Drive In Theatre says it’s working on limiting capacity, among other safeguards

Most Read