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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 95, Issue 5, pp 352–356 | Cite as

Youth at Risk of Homelessness in an Affluent Toronto Suburb

  • Kelly N. CameronEmail author
  • Yvonne Racine
  • David R. Offord
  • John Cairney
Article

Abstract

Background: This study examines the characteristics and needs of 69 youth who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness at Pathway’s Home Base Youth Drop-In Centre in the affluent suburb of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada.

Methods: A semi-structured interview examined demographics, characteristics, living arrangements, family characteristics, substance use, mental health, criminal activity and educational experiences of the youth in this sample.

Results: The majority of youth came from economically advantaged families and were currently residing with their parents, but were substantially more at risk than their mainstream peers in measures related to youth homelessness. The majority of Home Base youth had left home and school prematurely, been arrested in their lifetime, and used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months. A substantial number of youth had been imprisoned, experienced physical abuse, and exhibited depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation.

Conclusion: Although living mainly at home and in a relatively affluent suburb, these youth have many attributes related to homelessness and may progress to homelessness without intervention.

Résumé

Contexte: Cette étude porte sur les caractéristiques et les besoins de 69 jeunes sans abri, ou risquant de devenir des sans abri, pris en charge par le centre d’hébergement et de dépannage pour les jeunes Pathway’s Home Base, situé dans la banlieue fortunée de Richmond Hill (Ontario).

Méthode: Au moyen d’entretiens semi-directifs, nous avons examiné le profil démographique, les caractéristiques, les conditions de logement, le contexte familial, la consommation de drogues, la santé mentale, les activités criminelles et l’expérience scolaire des jeunes de l’échantillon.

Résultats: La majorité des jeunes venaient de familles aisées et habitaient actuellement chez leurs parents, mais ils étaient beaucoup plus vulnérables que leurs pairs de la population générale, selon les critères mesurant la clochardise chez les jeunes. La majorité des jeunes clients de Home Base avaient quitté la maison et l’école prématurément, s’étaient fait arrêter au cours de leur vie et avaient consommé au moins une drogue illicite au cours des 12 mois précédents. Un nombre considérable de jeunes avaient été incarcérés, été victimes de violence physique, présentaient des symptômes de dépression et avaient des idées suicidaires.

Conclusion: Bien qu’ils vivent principalement au domicile familial dans une banlieue relativement fortunée, ces jeunes présentent de nombreux attributs liés à la clochardise; en l’absence de toute intervention, ils risquent de joindre les rangs des sans-abri.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kelly N. Cameron
    • 1
    Email author
  • Yvonne Racine
    • 2
  • David R. Offord
    • 2
  • John Cairney
    • 3
  1. 1.Pathways for Children, Youth, and Families of York RegionMarkhamCanada
  2. 2.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neuroscience and Centre for Studies of Children At-RiskMcMaster UniversityHamiltonCanada
  3. 3.Health Systems Research and Consulting Unit, Centre for Addictions and Mental Health and the Department of PsychiatryUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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