Impact of Youth Homelessness


Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse – street youth are five times more likely to report being victims of abuse as children. Linked to impaired ability to form trusting relationships, low self-esteem, depression, suicide attempts, running away and being kicked out

Involvement with the child welfare system: (Grew up in foster homes, group homes, involvement of CAS, grew up in insecure housing with unstable family relations etc.)

Discrimination: Racism, sexism

25 – 40% of youth experiencing homeless self-identify as LGBTQ

Poverty: Often supportive families can no longer support a child, and it’s not uncommon for the young person to leave and seek better economic opportunities. If those opportunities are not found, it can lead to more poverty and homelessness.

Youth with mental health and/or developmental issues who come from homes where there is lack of resources, or family feels overwhelmed with nowhere to turn

Addictions: often relates to family poverty and/or not being equipped to support and help their child.

Some Key Issues

  • 1-in-5 shelter users are under the age of 25
  • Trauma related to the causes of homelessness, including mental health problems, low self-esteem, difficulty forming trusting relationships, addictions, etc.
  • Lack of affordable housing and appropriate employment opportunities
  • Having to become an ‘adult’ overnight, as opposed to over a period of time when they can continue education, make mistakes, learn, and grow with support and mentorship from caring adults and peers
  • A rise in credentialism requires more schooling, despite the fact that 65% of youth who have experienced homelessness failed to complete high school

The Impact

  • A youth who spends 2 or more years on the street is far less likely to get off the street
  • 45% of street youth report being attacked in the last year
  • 42% of street youth report having been sexually assaulted or threatened with sexual assault
  • It costs roughly $1930 a month to house a youth in a shelter bed

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