With unemployment a significant issue amongst housed youth, it is no surprise that it is also a challenge for youth experiencing homelessness. While some of the issues are the same (lack of experience, lack of education), there are also unique challenges to maintaining employment presented by the lack of a permanent address. Research conducted by Raising the Roof with “nearly 700 youth experiencing homelessness in three Canadian cities found that 73% were not employed. Similarly, in a study with 360 homeless youth in Toronto, only 15% identified paid employment as their primary source of income”.
In her report for Raising the Roof, Amanda Noble shares a number of barriers to employment for homeless and at-risk youth including:
- not having basic needs met
- a lack of social support
- low education and skill levels (or social capital)
- mental health concerns
- criminal justice involvement
Noble also stated that “some employers are hesitant to employ youth once they find out they are homeless, perhaps due to the fear that their lives are not stable enough to maintain employment, or as a result of the stereotypes associated with homeless and at-risk youth”.