OVERVIEW:“There were times when the best I could do for a homeless youth was give them a tent to sleep in the park or buy them a bus ticket to Halifax or Montreal. This is a shameful situation for our city to be in.”
-TRC Case Manager
Safe Harbour Transitional Youth Services (Safe Harbour) is a direct response to the crisis in youth homelessness in southern New Brunswick . Youth homelessness refers to youth who are homeless, at-risk of homelessness or caught in a cycle of homelessness for whatever reason. This includes many youth who do not live on the street but who are among the hidden homeless (those who are under-housed, couch-surfing or staying in unsafe situations because they have no other options).
While we don’t know the precise number of youth who have no safe place to call home, our community’s experts and key informants – youth workers and educators – estimate that more than 100 homeless and at-risk youth need transitional housing.
Although there are many services available for homeless and at risk youth, there is NO emergency housing program. Homeless youth are left on the streets while they try to get their lives on track. Safe Harbour will plug a gaping hole in the continuum of services for at risk youth by providing emergency and transitional housing. Safe Harbour will be a 10-bedroom house that provides youth with an exit from the streets and other vulnerable situations. Once their basic needs are met, they will be connected to existing services and will be supported as they make the transition into adulthood.
The recently published book Youth Homelessness in Canada, explains why youth experiencing homelessness need specific supports and our understanding of youth homelessness needs to be framed in terms of the challenges of adolescence and young adulthood:
“...while many, if not most, adults who are homeless will have had some experience with independent living this is not the case for most homeless youth. Few leave home with knowledge of how to rent and maintain an apartment, find a job (especially one that isn’t a dead-end, minimum wage job), stay in school, buy and prepare food, pay bills and even arrange medical appointments. On top of all this, many if not most young people who become homeless are working through the challenges of adolescent development, including physical, cognitive and identity development. This includes efforts to develop meaningful relationships, engage in fulfilling activities and figure out exactly what they want to do with their lives. We understand that for most young people this can be a slow and arduous process, lasting years. For those who become homeless, however, there is usually no time or the necessary supports in place to allow this development to occur in a safe and supported way. Many of us cannot fathom the idea of being on the street at such a young age without any supports to guide their way into safe and supportive environments.”
Please VOTE and help us provide a safe, empowering environment for our Youth!