Some of the statistics regarding street youth may surprise you, but a lot of it won’t. Did you know that 70% of the kids who come into Covenant House Vancouver have witnessed family violence? Or that 1 in 3 youth must engage in “survival sex”? How about this: 32% of them have attempted suicide.
To define “street kid” there is this, offered by HomelessHub.ca: Youth homelessness refers to young people between the ages of 13 and 24 who are living independently of parents and/or caregivers, and importantly, lack many of the social supports deemed necessary for the transition from childhood to adulthood. In such circumstances, they do not have a stable or consistent residence or source of income, nor do they necessarily have adequate access to the support networks necessary to foster a safe and nurturing transition into the responsibilities of adulthood.
Now that you have clear idea as to what defines the problem, it seems that the most common question surrounding the homelessness of young people is “why?” The Washington State Department of Commerce mentions in their 2016 annual report that, “Many have run from dysfunctional and sometimes violent homes, been kicked out for their gender identity or sexual orientation, or separated from their family due to poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, or mental health issues.”
Places like Covenant House take in homeless, runaway, and at-risk youth between the ages of 16 and 24 and tend to their medical needs, hunger, and offer not only a safe place to sleep, but compassion and support.
Like previously mentioned, homeless and sexual abuse often go hand in hand. Below, please find an infographic to help better understand how the two are related.
Click to enlarge // Credit to the National Sexual Violence Resource Centre
Sources: Covenant House Vancouver, HomelessHub.ca, Washington State Department of Commerce