2. What are the challenges these young people face?

In the previous section, we looked at the many complex and intersecting pathways that lead young people into homelessness. Once a young person has left home, been thrown out, or left the child welfare system, they may find themselves couch-surfing, residing in an emergency shelter, or they may be unsheltered, sleeping outside in public places. We began the last section with a story about a young man who was sleeping in a rock garden, and noted that he was also malnourished, using intravenous drugs, and not engaging in hygienic practices like bathing. These are just some of the challenges that young people face while experiencing homelessness in Canada. The author who knew this young man does not know what happened to him, as it is fairly common for these young people to move around. We would like to believe he is alive and well, but the severity of challenges associated with street life are indisputable. Before you continue through the material of this section, we invite you to pause and reflect here on this young man. What challenges do you think he and other youth face as a result of experiencing homelessness? You may use the space below to record your thoughts. 

 

How to complete this activity and save your work: Type your response to the question in the box below. When you are done answering the question navigate to the ‘Export’ page to download and save your response. If you prefer to work in a Word document offline you can skip right to the Export section and download a Word document with this question there.

 

The need for prevention becomes evident when we look closely at the challenges and risks young people face when experiencing homelessness. While they must be recognized as strong and independent for navigating these challenges, we cannot forget that they are fundamentally young adults who are placed in dangerous environments and asked to engage in tasks, like finding independent housing, that are not generally asked of housed youth who are the same age. For instance, when a 16–year–old leaves an abusive home they may go to a friend’s house or shelter, but the ultimate expectation is that they obtain housing of their own. Securing housing – and having the income to pay for it – is not something we would expect of most people this age. Although these young people may be living independently, it does not necessarily mean they have the social, emotional, and life skill preparation required to do so. We begin with a video of Dr. Jeff Karabanow discussing how young people may initially view the street as a safer place than the one they left, but how it quickly becomes an exploitative place that they need to be supported in order to move rapidly away from. 

 

Dr. Jeff Karabanow: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video Dr. Jeff Karabanow shares that many young people believe the street is a better option than the place they left. He notes that this is a problematic notion because, while the streets can offer some initial respite and social connections, it is a deeply exploitative environment that forces young people to constantly be in survival mode. Dr. Karabanow explains that while on the street young people have to navigate the general public, changing weather conditions, and a sense of boredom. He notes that young people experiencing homelessness are at high risk for abuse and exploitation, and that there are drug dynamics on the street that can amplify mental health and addiction challenges. Dr. Karabanow concludes that although the street might offer some short-term crisis relief for youth leaving home, it is imperative that they be moved off the streets and into safe and secure housing as quickly as possible. This video is 3:49 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Jeff Karabanow: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. Many youth express that the street is a better option than the place they left, which is really problematic.
  2. The streets can offer some initial benefits, such as removing the youth from a traumatic environment, offering distance from a crisis situation, and making connections with support workers and peers who have had similar experiences.
  3. However, the streets are a deeply exploitative environment where people are consistently in survival mode trying to figure out where to sleep and eat.
    • Youth on the street have to navigate hostility from the general public and changing weather conditions. There is also a lot of boredom.
    • Youth experiencing homelessness are at high risk for sexual and/or physical abuse and exploitation.
    • There are a lot of drug dynamics and addictions that can amplify mental health challenges.
  4. Although the streets might offer some respite from a difficult home environment, it is essential to move these young people off the streets and into safe and secure housing as quickly as possible.

 

Living in survival mode is characteristic of homelessness, whether as a youth or an adult. However, the developmental stage of young people means they are often more dependent on others for this survival, which can place them in a vulnerable position. For instance, peer relationships play a central role in these young people’s lives and part of the work of navigating shelters and other street-based environments is developing strategies for managing their influence (Alschech, Taiwo-Hanna, & Shier, 2020). Likewise, romantic relationships amongst youth experiencing homelessness can also have a contradictory nature including positive aspects such as connection, support, validation, and encouragement, but also negative experiences such as interpersonal violence and the stress of managing street-life (Joly & Connolly, 2019). The reliance on others, including those who are also street-involved, can lead to violence and exploitation. In the next video, Dr. Stephen Gaetz explains further. 

 

Dr. Stephen Gaetz: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Stephen Gaetz states that many of the challenges adults who experience homelessness face also apply to young people, but that there are some youth-specific challenges as well. Notably, he points to the negative impacts homelessness has on young people’s health, mental health, well-being, and nutrition at a time when they are still developing. Dr. Gaetz explains that youth experiencing homelessness are exposed to high rates of crime and violence, in large part because we create institutional structures, such as shelters, that serve as recruitment sites for predators like sex traffickers. He notes that prolonged homelessness can have lifelong impacts on youth and potentially lead to chronic homelessness when they are adults. Dr. Gaetz concludes by arguing we need to seriously prioritize youth homelessness prevention because it is the pipeline into adult homelessness. This video is 2:59 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Stephen Gaetz: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. Many of the challenges adults who experience homelessness face also apply to youth, and then there are some youth-specific challenges as well.
  2. Homelessness has a negative impact on young people’s health, mental health, well-being, and nutrition at a time when they are still growing and developing.
    • Growing up in an abusive home is also a horrible experience, but we need alternatives to placing these young people in emergency shelters.
  3. Youth experiencing homelessness are exposed to high rates of crime and violence.
    • When we create institutional structures, such as emergency shelters, to group vulnerable youth together we are essentially showing predators, like sex traffickers, where to find their victims.
  4. Prolonged youth homelessness can have lifelong impacts, and lead to chronic homelessness.
    • Canada’s 2018 point-in-time count found that half of people experiencing homelessness had their first experience before the age of 25.
    • We need to prioritize prevention in a serious way because youth homelessness is the pipeline into adult homelessness.

 

Quote Source

 

The first national survey of homeless youth clearly demonstrated the range of suffering that young people experience while homeless, including housing precarity, violence, marginalization, health challenges, and social exclusion (Gaetz, O’Grady, Kidd, & Schwan, 2016). The second national survey that followed reconfirmed that exposure to violence and victimization are common for young people experiencing homelessness, with negative outcomes such as 35% reporting at least 1 suicide attempt and 33% reporting drug overdose that required hospitalization (Kidd et al., 2021). Although the public perception may be that young people who are unhoused present a sense of danger – such as the young man in the story at the beginning – the reality is that these young people are much more likely to be the victims of crime than perpetrators.

 

There are several reasons why these young people are frequently victimized. For instance, without the security of a place to keep their possessions safe many young people carry their belongings with them at all times, increasing their vulnerability to robbery. Many of these young people have limited support networks, meaning there are few people who are looking out for them and/or whom they could turn to for help. Finally, because these young people are more frequently perceived to be criminally involved than as victims, they have poor relations with police and are less likely to report being victimized. You can read more about this in the chapter on Sociology & Crimino-Legal Studies. In the next video, Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly explains further.

 

Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly notes that the challenges young people face vary somewhat depending on where they live and the kinds of supports they have. For instance, youth in rural settings may experience hidden homelessness and need to leave behind their support networks to seek services in larger cities. She discusses the risks youth experience once becoming homeless, such as being vulnerable to street-based violence, robbery, and trafficking. Dr. Kennelly argues that while these young people are in need of protection, they are often targeted by police and seen as perpetrators of crime. Consequently, many do not feel comfortable reporting their victimization. This video is 2:07 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Jacqueline Kennelly: What are the challenges these young people face? 

  1. The challenges young people face will vary somewhat depending on where they are living and what kinds of supports they have.
  2. Youth in rural settings may experience hidden homelessness and migrate into larger cities for services. They are then moving away from the supports and places that they know and going somewhere unfamiliar and potentially unsafe.
  3. Young people experiencing homelessness are vulnerable to street-based violence, being victimized through robbery, trafficking, and a range of other risks.
  4. These youth need protection but are more likely than housed youth to be targeted by police and seen as perpetrators of crime. They often do not feel safe approaching police to report being victimized.

What do you think?

human head with light bulb as brain graphicThere is a cycle in which youth who experience homelessness are victimized but do not report it to the police because of poor relationships. However, because they do not report these incidences, police do not generally view them as being victimized. What can be done to disrupt this cycle, so that police see these young people as needing protection, and these young people see the police as sources of that protection?


A young person’s perception of their own vulnerability may be connected to the length of time they have experienced homelessness. Analysis from a national survey of youth experiencing homelessness showed, for instance, that not every young person considers themselves to be homeless, but that past trauma and the intensity of the day-to-day hardships contribute to adopting this identity (O’Grady, Kidd, & Gaetz, 2020). Among other factors, O’Grady et al., (2020) found that when a person reported being the victim of crime in the preceding 12 months, they were more likely to consider themselves homeless and take on homelessness as a part of their self-identity. This research is important because it helps us understand the connection between being victimized and adopting a homeless identity, which can make it more difficult to transition off the streets. By extension, we need to consider the impact being victimized has on young people’s chances and opportunities to become securely housed. In the next video, Dr. Bill O’Grady speaks about his team’s research and the dire impacts victimization can have on these young people.

 

Dr. Bill O’Grady: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. William [Bill] O’Grady explains that there are some general challenges youth experiencing homelessness face, but that they are impacted by layers of marginality related to ethnicity, gender, and/or sexual orientation. He notes that these common challenges include a lack of income, no high school diploma, and not having lived independently before. Dr. O’Grady discusses his research, which shows youth who experience homelessness are at high risk of multiple victimization episodes, including being robbed, physically and/or sexually assaulted, and recruited into sex trafficking. While there is a public perception that these youth commit crimes, Dr. O’Grady concludes they are much more likely to be the victims. This video is 4:11 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Bill O’Grady: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. The challenges young people face are impacted by layers of marginality, such as based on their ethnicity, gender, and/or sexual orientation, but there are some general considerations.
  2. The lack of income is a key challenge, as many youth who experience homelessness have not completed high school and struggle to find employment.
  3. Many youth have not lived independently prior to experiencing homelessness. Leaving a troubled home and transitioning to a shelter or the streets can be a struggle.
  4. Young people, particularly those who are visibly homeless, are targets for predators. These youth are frequently robbed, physically and/or sexually assaulted, and recruited into sex trafficking.
    • Many youth experience victimization multiple times.
    • There is a public perception that these young people commit crime. While some do, they are much more likely to be victims of crime.

 

In the preceding video, Dr. O’Grady spoke about the layers of marginality that shape young people’s experiences of homelessness and that contribute to the challenges they face. Being a young adult is one such layer that interacts with others. For instance, among individuals who are Indigenous, the strongest predictor of experiencing visible (i.e. unsheltered) homelessness has been found to be child welfare involvement (Alberton et al., 2020). This shows us a connection between Indigeneity and child welfare involvement as additional layers of marginality for some young people.

 

Researchers have also pointed to the ways in which youth who experience homelessness have a much higher prevalence of disabilities than the general public (Baker Collins & Fudge Schormans, 2021). A chart review of intake data for 494 clients enrolled in a community-based inner-city mental health program in Vancouver, for instance, identified a subsample of 44 individuals who were referred for neurophysiological evaluation (Barone et al., 2019). Findings of this analysis revealed that 80% of the referred clients showed cognitive impairment, primarily related to attention and processing speed, 51% of clients referred for testing did not have more than a grade ten education, and only 5% received government support intended for individuals who have significant disabilities (Barone et al., 2019). The invisibility of disability means that young people with cognitive and other disabilities experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable and may face significant barriers gaining access to the tailored supports they need (Baker Collins, Schormans, Watt, Idems, & Wilson, 2018).

 

There are many layers of marginality that serve to shape a young person’s experiences of homelessness and the challenges they face. The results of the second national survey of 1,375 youth experiencing homelessness emphasized that while all these young people are vulnerable, there is heightened adversity for Indigenous persons, young women, and young people who identify as LGBTQ2S+ (Kidd et al., 2021). In the next video, Dr. Alex Abramovich speaks about the unique challenges unhoused LGBTQ2S+ youth face and the resulting risks to their safety.

 

Dr. Alex Abramovich: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Alex Abramovich explains that for LGBTQ2S+ youth who experience homelessness, safety is an ongoing challenge and source of daily anxiety. He notes that most spaces these young people navigate are unsafe and that they often have to choose between unsafe alternatives. Dr. Abramovich provides the example of a trans youth deciding between staying in a shelter where their gender identity will be discriminated against or sleeping outside where they will face unknown physical dangers. He concludes by noting that navigating unsafe spaces also makes it more difficult for LGBTQ2S+ youth experiencing homelessness to access supports where they feel they can be honest about their identity. This video is 2:19 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Alex Abramovich: What are the challenges these young people face? 

  1. For LGBTQ2S+ youth who experience homelessness, safety is an on-going challenge and source of anxiety.
  2. Most of the spaces these young people have to navigate are unsafe, which often means they must choose between different risk factors.
    • For instance, a trans youth might have to decide whether to sleep in a shelter where they will be placed on a floor that does not match their gender identity and where they face discrimination or to sleep outside where they face many unknown threats of violence. Neither situation is safe.
  3. Knowing that spaces are unsafe also makes it more challenging for an LGBTQ2S+ youth to access supports, without being certain whether they can be honest about their sense of identity.

 

Being a young person who identifies as an LGBTQ2S+ individual poses additional challenges while experiencing homelessness. In this section’s featured reading we share the results of a study Dr. Abramovich and his team conducted, to learn more about the experiences of LGBTQ2S+ youth experiencing homelessness in Toronto and its surrounding areas during the COVID-19 pandemic. Through surveys and interviews, they found that these young people reported poor mental health, such as suicidality, depression, anxiety, and increased substance use, compounded by a lack of access to health care and social services (Abramovich et al., 2021). Although these issues were not created by the pandemic (i.e. they already existed), these young people felt they had been exacerbated by pandemic conditions. We invite you now to learn more about this study’s outcomes, through the featured reading presented below. While you are reading, we encourage you to reflect on how the discrimination LGBTQ2S+ youth experience is a layer of marginality. 


Featured Reading:

open book graphicAbramovich, A., Pang, N., Moss, A., Logie, C. H., Chaiton, M., Kidd, S. A., & Hamilton, H. A. (2021). Investigating the impacts of COVID-19 among LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness. PLOS ONE, 16(9): e0257693.


 

Throughout this section, we have considered the numerous challenges that young people face while experiencing homelessness. We have seen that although they may initially see the streets as a respite from the homelife they left, it soon becomes a space of violence and exploitation. Because they lack private spaces, have limited social support, and generally poor relations with the police, these young people are at high risk of victimization. Indeed, our current emergency response – which places these young people together in shelter settings – serves as a recruitment ground for sexual predators. In addition to being young, these individuals’ experiences of homelessness are shaped by identity markers, such as their Indigeneity, ethnicity, level of abilities, gender, and/or sexuality.

 

While experiencing homelessness, young people often spend much of their time trying to meet their basic survival needs, like obtaining food and shelter. In the “At-Risk Youth Study” conducted with 1,066 street-involved young people who use drugs, 68% reported some degree of food insufficiency, defined as being hungry but not having enough money to buy food, and 53% met the criteria for depression (Goldman-Hasbun, Nosova, DeBeck, Dahlby, & Kerr, 2019). When these researchers looked to see if a relationship existed between these two variables, they found that the youth who reported often experiencing food insufficiency also had a higher likelihood of reporting depression, suggesting the lack of food may negatively impact these young people’s mental well-being on the street (Goldman-Hasbun et al., 2019). Food insecurity has also been found to exacerbate body image concerns and lead to higher rates of compensatory substance use amongst youth experiencing homelessness (Luongo, 2018).

 

We see from these research studies, that the success of young people’s survival activities – like whether they are able to secure adequate levels of nutritious food – has an impact on their well-being and self-esteem. Youth who experience homelessness often perceive themselves to be devalued in society, with research linking this to outcomes such as engaging in higher rates of unprotected sex, increased alcohol use, and daily heroin use (Karamouzian et al., 2019). These risk factors are not always well addressed either, such as through their differential use of sexual health care services (Côté, 2019). In the next video, Dr. Sean Kidd explains how these negative self-images are particularly detrimental for a young person who is still developing and reiterates that navigating supports and peer relations on the street can be a primary challenge these young people face.

 

Dr. Sean Kidd: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Sean Kidd notes that young people experiencing homelessness are also in a developmental period, where they are forming their brains and identities, and that an episode of homelessness can make it difficult for them to sustain a positive sense of self. He explains that there are basic survival challenges, such as obtaining food, shelter, and safety, and that these young people experience a profound level of violence on the street. Dr. Kidd relays research findings that show violence on the street, whether daily intimidation or life-threatening events, carries tremendous weight in relation to suicidal ideation, drug overdoses, and being in a general state of distress. He further notes that young people may face challenges finding supports that offer the kind of tangible and emotional help they need, as their friends may not provide the best advice and they may resist seeking out support workers based on previous negative encounters with authority figures in their lives. Dr. Kidd concludes by discussing the challenges young people face in transitioning out of homelessness, such as wanting to return to school but finding their former peers have moved on. This video is 4:34 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Sean Kidd: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. Young people who experience homelessness are also in the process of adolescent brain development and forming their identities. It can be difficult for these young people to sustain a positive sense of self in these circumstances.
  2. Basic survival is a challenge for young people experiencing homelessness, including obtaining food, shelter, and safety.
  3. Young people experience a profound amount of sexual and physical violence on the streets, ranging from daily hustles and intimidation to life-threatening events.
    • Research shows violence on the street carries tremendous weight in relation to a young person’s thinking about suicide, overdosing on drugs, and being in general distress.
  4. Finding supports that offer the kind of tangible and emotional help a young person needs can be a challenge. Friends may provide social support but not offer good advice, and previous negative encounters with authority figures may prevent young people from seeking out service providers.
  5. Transitioning out of homelessness is also a challenge for young people experiencing homelessness. They may come to a point in their lives where they have some stability and want to return to school or find employment.
    • Returning to places, such as school, and finding that others have moved on can be challenging and produce a sense of isolation and mental health challenges post-homelessness.

 

Young people have to navigate the street through conscious decisions about who they feel they are as a person, and how they can best survive within that physical and social environment (Frederick, 2019). However, as they work towards exiting homelessness, they may find that the barriers they encountered on the streets continue to be challenges. The effects of trauma and violence on the street can be long-lasting, and young people who have spent formative years in unstable living conditions may not have developed independent living skills. This means that even as they try to secure housing, they may find they do not have the income or the means to secure a job needed to pay rent. They may also find that even if housing is secured, they have limited knowledge of how to manage household responsibilities, like grocery shopping, cooking, and budgeting their money. Young people may encounter on-going interpersonal challenges, such as with roommates or landlords that they are unsure how to navigate. We see that the challenges that arise while a young person is homeless do not necessarily get resolved just because they seek housing. In the next video, Dr. Tyler Frederick reviews the challenges these young people face and explains how they can continue even once the young person is housed. 

 

Dr. Tyler Frederick: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Tyler Frederick argues that homelessness can be an extremely stressful experience for young people, as they may not know where to go, what to do, how to get help, or whom to trust. He notes that when a young person is already struggling, such as with depression or anxiety, and they are placed in a stressful environment like a shelter, there will be negative outcomes for their mental health and/or substance use. Dr. Frederick warns that young people experiencing homelessness are at high risk for victimization, like violence and sex trafficking, and that they face systemic vulnerabilities, such as being over-policed. Dr. Frederick concludes that exiting homelessness is a challenge for these youth as well, who have to balance daily stressors of life with finding affordable housing, a landlord who is willing to rent to them, and a reliable source of income. This video is 4:24 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Tyler Frederick: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. Experiencing homelessness can be extremely stressful for young people.
    • They may not know where to go, what to do, how to get help, or whom to trust.
    • The stress of homelessness can have profoundly negative impacts on young people’s mental health and substance use rates.
    • When a young person is already struggling, such as with depression, trauma, and/or anxiety and then they lose their housing and are put into stressful environments, such as a shelter or the street, their overall wellness is going to greatly decline.
  2. Young people experiencing homelessness are at high risk for victimization, including violence within shelter settings and being preyed upon for sex trafficking.
  3. Youth who experience homelessness face systemic vulnerabilities, such as being over-policed and coming into contact with the law, which has long-lasting effects on employment searches and transitioning out of homelessness.
  4. The work of exiting homelessness is a major challenge for youth experiencing homelessness, including finding affordable housing, a landlord willing to rent, and a reliable source of income.
    • Along with achieving these tasks are practical challenges, such as finding the right clothes to wear to an interview, having contact information to provide potential employers, and dealing with roommate disagreements.

 

Being able to move out of homelessness and into secure housing is itself a primary challenge young people face. Consider the many barriers we have discussed throughout this section. They often have left homelives that were not supportive only to find themselves in dangerous and exploitative environments. Many young people are victimized and face daily stressors just to meet their basic needs. Throughout all of this, they are discriminated against and commonly suffer from poor self-esteem, trauma, and diminished mental health. They are at an age where they are still developing, and securely housed youth of the same age are not met with the same expectations. Yet, despite these conditions and through their own personal strength, these young people seek to find housing and security in their lives. In a study of formerly homeless youth in Toronto, researchers found that the primary barriers they encounter are related to unaffordable housing, having limited education, inadequate employment opportunities, living in poverty, and having a lack of social capital (Thulien, Gastaldo, Hwang, & McCay, 2018). In the next video, lead author Dr. Naomi Thulien speaks about the findings of this study and what it can tell us about how to help improve the situation for these young people. 

 

Dr. Naomi Thulien: What are the challenges these young people face?

In this video, Dr. Naomi Thulien argues that young people experiencing homelessness face the clear challenge of not having anywhere to live, as well as additional challenges related to incomplete education, inability to find employment, and a lack of connections within the community. Dr. Thulien explains that these youth experience homelessness during a period in which they are still developing, and that this is particularly challenging as Canadian youth, in general, are staying home longer and delaying living independently. She notes that obtaining housing in a competitive market may be even more difficult for these youth, as a result of stigma, poor credit, and not having a surety in place. Dr. Thulien encourages landlords to make an intentional decision to rent to these young people as a way to help them exit homelessness. This video is 4:14 in length and has closed captions available in English.

Key Takeaways – Dr. Naomi Thulien: What are the challenges these young people face?

  1. Young people experiencing homelessness face the challenge of not having anywhere to live, and generally not having the level of education needed to find employment that is high paying with benefits.
  2. These youth often lack connections in the community and may not know where to go to seek help, such as with education or employment supports.
  3. These youth are still developing and experiencing homelessness at a time when there are societal shifts in what it means to transition into independent living and adulthood, particularly with limited resources and supports.
  4. Obtaining housing in a competitive market may be even more challenging because of stigmas about young renters, having poor credit histories, and no one to serve as a surety.
    • Landlords can help these young people exit homelessness by purposely seeking to rent to them.

 

There are many challenges young people face when they experience homelessness. We have seen throughout this section that while they may think about leaving home as a respite, they soon realize that the street is not a safe environment. Rather, they are exposed to considerable violence, victimization, and trauma at a time in their life when they are still developing mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially. The impacts of this violence and trauma can last throughout their lives.

 

When a young person becomes homeless, they may stay temporarily with friends or extended family, reside in an emergency shelter, or sleep outside in public places. We began this section by returning to one young man, who was sleeping outside, using substances, and facing considerable public discrimination as a result. The perception of these young people is often that they are dangerous and/or criminals, yet what the research shows is that they are much more likely to be the victims. Our current emergency response increases these chances, by placing young people together and increasing their visibility and vulnerability to predators. Indeed, sexual victimization and trafficking are common outcomes for young people who become homeless.

 

While all young people are vulnerable when in street environments, we learned that there are additional layers of marginality that can serve to make some even more at-risk. In particular, young people who are Indigenous, racialized, living with disabilities, female, and/or who identify as LGBTQ2S+ are among the highest risk for additional harms associated with homelessness. While in a developmental stage, and navigating risks of violence and trauma, these young people also must function in survival mode just to meet their basic needs. The demand to always be searching for safety, food, and shelter creates a physiological state of stress that can also have life-long consequences.

 

If a young person is able to find some stability and begin to transition out of homelessness, they may find that the challenges persist. As many young people leave school prior to graduating, they often are not able to obtain a job that is high paying enough to cover the costs of market rent. Returning to school, getting a job, and finding secure and affordable housing are considerable tasks that take time. Exiting homelessness, and recovering from the trauma of the experience, is a process that requires a great deal of personal strength and social support.

 

Podcast: What are the challenges these young people face? (29:56)

Click the link below to listen to all of the researchers answer the question “What are the challenges these young people face?” in audio format on our podcast!


 

 

 

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Understanding Homelessness in Canada Copyright © 2022 by Kristy Buccieri, James Davy, Cyndi Gilmer, and Nicole Whitmore is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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