Care and the Lives of Homeless Youth in Neoliberal Times in Canada

Socio-spatial insights from feminist theories of care are examined in relation to the complex, difficult lives of some homeless youth in Ottawa, & their embeddedness within multiple scales of public policy construction & implementation. As lengthy interviews with 78 female & 78 male homeless youth in Ottawa revealed, both care & self-sufficiency figure strongly in these young peoples' lives. It is our contention that care is generally not part of current senior government agendas geared to marginalised youth & that as a result, there is a gap in funding that supports efforts of community organisations who work with homeless youth. We suggest that one way in which to understand this gap is by recognising that senior government programming for marginalised youth is geared problematically to narrowly defined employability issues. Furthermore, we assert that this results in local organisations being left to bridge the gaps between these one-dimensional characterisations & the complex gendered, racialised & situated lives of marginalised youth. In this article, we draw upon our preliminary findings from on-going research with homeless youth in Ottawa to expand on these arguments, in conjunction with theoretical insights drawn from selected ethics of justice & ethics of care arguments. We assert that there are important socio-spatial implications to be considered. Incorporating care into the framework of senior government policies implies that there is an onus not only to provide sufficient funds but also to direct those monies in such a way that the gendered & racialised contexts within which homeless youths are living manifest qualities of both care & justice. This article suggests that the role of appropriately located, multifaceted social services may have a significance that has not been appropriately recognised. References. Adapted from the source document.

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Gender, Place and Culture