Learning Objectives

In this chapter, you are invited to learn and think critically about the experience of being both young and homeless in Canada. While considering homelessness as an issue that impacts young persons, you are encouraged to reflect upon three key questions guiding this chapter’s learning objectives.


  1. We begin by asking, ‚ÄúWhy do some young people become homeless?‚ÄĚ Exploring the answers to this question will require an open mind about circumstances that may or may not resemble our own experiences of growing up. The reasons a young person becomes homeless are often complicated and develop over time, rather than being a one-time decision. In this first section, we will collectively unpack some of the most common reasons while recognizing that leaving home is often not a choice, is difficult under any circumstances, and is sometimes the safest option.


  1. Following the exploration of why some young people become homeless, we will apply an experiential lens through the question, ‚ÄúWhat are the challenges these young people face?‚ÄĚ Certainly, homelessness itself is a challenge yet these young people must also navigate education, mental health, and relationships, while securing the necessities of life such as housing and food. In this section, you are invited to learn more, and reflect upon, the daily realities of homelessness for young people in Canada.


  1. With a deeper understanding of why some young people become homeless and the challenges they face, we conclude the chapter by exploring solutions through the question, ‚ÄúHow can young people be supported to exit homelessness permanently?‚ÄĚ As you work through this section you are encouraged to note the shifts that are occurring, towards transitioning young people out of homelessness and supporting them to find and maintain stability.


As you move through this chapter it is beneficial to keep in mind that young people who become homeless rarely do so unless it is a necessity. The decision to leave home ‚Äď or being asked to leave home ‚Äď is a traumatic life circumstance for any young person to go through. Just as leaving one‚Äôs home is often a process rather than a single event, so too does permanently exiting homelessness take time to achieve. Read on to learn more about the reasons some youth become homeless, the challenges these young people face, the remarkable strength it takes to achieve long-term stability, and what we as a society can do to better support these young people before homelessness occurs.


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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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