6. Child & Youth Studies

A pencil-drawn image depicts a young man wearing shorts and t-shirt holding a sign that reads ‚ÄúHomeless not hopeless.‚ÄĚ He stands next to a cup on the ground to collect coins.
We have dreams
Artist: Joe

In all societies there are rites of passage that mark the passing of time. Leaving one‚Äôs family of origin and claiming independence is one such marker. Commonly we may think of a young person leaving their parents‚Äô home because they are entering college or university, they have rented or purchased a place of their own, and/or because they have started their own family through marriage or the birth of a child. When a young person leaves their home under these circumstances they are celebrated, even if met with mixed emotions. Yet, there are many young people who leave home under very different ‚Äď and not celebratory ‚Äď circumstances.

Consider for instance a young person who leaves an abusive or oppressive household, a young person who feels unwelcome in their home due to their sexual orientation or gender expression, or a young person who struggles with emotional or cognitive disabilities and does not receive the support they need to succeed in traditional educational settings. These young people may all leave home out of necessity or be pushed out by family who does not accept them. When they leave home, they are not met with the same celebration as those who leave for socially approved reasons. Rather, they are left without vital support networks to help them navigate education, housing, and employment on their own. Finding stability without these supports is a long and uphill battle.

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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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