The City of Vancouver’s annual homelessness report is in, and among the numbers some troubling trends.
15% of the City’s homeless population is under the age of 24, and advocates warn many are former foster kids who have aged out of care.
Drew Stewart has dedicated his life to supporting kids who have aged out of foster care.
As the development officer at a charity called Aunt Leah’s Place, he’s not surprised more than 170 children and youth were found to be homeless in Vancouver.
“Those sorts of subsidies through early adulthood which parented children have, foster children don’t have them. So there is a real relationship between the foster care system and those young people on the street. Most studies suggest that somewhere between 40-60% of those young people that were counted will have had some contact with the foster care system in their life.”
Stewart says that’s why Aunt Leah’s has launched the Friendly Landlord Network, in a bid to get youth off the street.
Through the service, four young people have been matched with landlords since April .
“The landlord enters a regular tenancy agreement and gets to rent at market price. The onus is on the youth serving organizations to make it work for the youth.”
Homeless young people represent a lower proportion of the population this year at 15% compared to 21% last year.
Children’s advocate disappointed
But BC’s Representative for Children and Youth says she’s disappointed to see more than one in 10 of Vancouver’s homeless are youth.
Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond says it shows the cracks in current foster care system.
“As they approach 19 the anxiety builds, and after 19 I see them on the streets as well right up to early adulthood. This is really reflecting a significant problem in our social policies in British Columbia. We are failing to keep people in a family setting and we are failing to support those families.”
Today’s report found 1,847 people facing homelessness, an increase of almost six per cent over 2015.