Problem of Street Youth in Canada
Question: What are the Reasons why some Youth end up on the Streets, and how are they Able to Successfully Exit Street Life?
Thousands of youth end up on the streets every year in Canada. The situation of an increased number of youths running away on the streets in Canada is not encouraging. Research shows that runaway youth on the streets use immoral strategies to survive such as engaging in prostitution, staying with friends, and committing offenses (Andre, 2017). The youth end up on the streets due to many reasons and end up leading an awful life. The study will find out the reasons behind youths ending up on the streets, and how they can successfully exit street life.
Physical, sexual and emotional abuse: Most youth who end up on the streets come from homes characterized by high rates of sexual, physical, neglect and emotional abuse. Young people who get sexually abused develop low esteem, high depression, and mind impairment (Gaetz et al., 2016). In Canada, other families kick away children out of the home; this contributes to an increased number of youth on the streets.
Family violence and poverty: Studies in Canada reveal that youth are vulnerable to homelessness due to poverty and family violence. Depression rates for mothers lies between 45-80 percent and this impacts on their children (Andre, 2017). As a result, the youth suffer a lot of depression, stress, and anxiety hence ending up on the streets to try other means of survival. Also, most Canadian youths ending up on the streets come from poor families.
Discrimination: There have been reported cases of racial discrimination when it comes to access to education, employment, and the ability of the young people to access basic services they require. In Canada, a combination of these factors contributes to extreme poverty which when combined with other youth challenges leads to homelessness (Segaert, 2012). The fact that access to a secure job is impossible to the unskilled, they end up on the streets to commit crimes and earn a living.
Now that we have known the reasons why the young people end up on the streets, can they successfully exit street life? The increasing presence of youth in the Canadian streets is a case that must adequately be addressed (Segaert, 2012). Exiting street life by the youth is as difficult as exiting use of drugs. However, exiting street life by the youth is possible in various ways.
Provision of outreach and gateway services: The initiation of street outreach and gateway program by NGOs and other street youth-oriented organization on the affected young people helps enable youth exit street life. Outreach services involve the provision of funds to increase young people’s safety, self-sufficiency, and emotional wellbeing especially for those in the street (Segaert, 2012). These greatly contribute to street youths’ decision to exit the street life.
Rehabilitation of the street youth: The main reason behind youths ending up on the street is discrimination. The government needs to assist in rehabilitating the youth in the streets by providing basic needs such as education, food, health, shelter, guidance, and skills training that will make them feel treated like other Canadians (Baskin, 2013). As a result, this will motivate them to work hard and leave the streets to engage in constructive activities of building the nation.
In conclusion, there is an alarming increase in the number of street youth in Canada year after year. Mistreatment, poverty, and discrimination are the leading causes of increased street life by the youth in Canada. Mostly, street children engage in crimes, prostitution, and thuggery activities to survive. Before understanding why this is the case in Canada, the government needs to rehabilitate and fund outreach services to enable the youth exit street life.
Andre, P., (2017). Canada experiencing alarming growth in child homelessness. Retrieved from: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/national/canada-experiencing-alarming-growth-in-child-homelessness/article28756629/
Baskin, C. (2013). Shaking Off the Colonial Inheritance: Homeless Indigenous Youth Resist, Reclaim and Reconnect. Toronto: Canadian Observatory On Homelessness
Gaetz, S., O’Grady, B., Kidd, S., & Schwan, K. (2016). Without A Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey. Toronto: Canadian Observatory on Homelessness Press.
Segaert, A. (2012). The National Shelter Study: Emergency shelter Use in Canada 2005-2009. Ottawa: Homelessness Partnering Secretariat, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.