Plan to End Youth Homelessness Calgary (2017 Update)

As Calgary and the province of Alberta continue to work towards the goal of ending homelessness, it is critical that the particular needs of young homeless persons are addressed appropriately. If effective interventions are not implemented, today’s homeless youth are at risk of becoming tomorrow’s homeless adults. In fact, we know that more than 40% of those enumerated in the 2014 Homeless Count reported experiencing their first episode of homelessness as a youth. Every year, more than 1,500 youth use emergency shelters in our city; on any given night, there are approximately 286 youth experiencing homelessness in Calgary. These young people, some as young as 12 years old, experience extremely high levels of vulnerability, abuse and victimization compounded by mental health, addictions, and trauma. Of these youth, about one-third are Indigenous – a ten-fold over-representation compared to the general Calgary population. It is important to remember that youth are under-represented in homeless counts and in emergency shelters, as many are ‘hidden homeless’: couch-surfing or staying with friends and family members in tenuous housing arrangements, increasing their vulnerability. 

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