Because of my interest in underserved populations, I felt quite interested when the opportunity arose to study youth homelessness. Although the depth of the problem is not often perceived as being great, there are a substantial number of youth who do not have consistent and stable housing. They may run away from home, stay for long stretches of time at family members’ or friends’ houses, or live in inadequate housing. Regardless in how we define youth homelessness, it can have significant detrimental impacts on affected youth and on society at large. It is important to understand the developmental nature of youth transience and on how to best help these youth to reach their highest potential.
Between 2012 and 2013, a graduate student (Julie Wershler) and I worked with Youth in Transition in Fredericton, NB to interview vulnerable male youth regarding their perceived problems and areas of need. We included nearly 200 youth who had run away, been involved in the juvenile justice system, were couchsurfing, or were involved in child protective services. Findings from our project demonstrated that these youth have a number of problems in their family relationships, have limited resources, and are at significant risk for dropping out of school. It is important that a continuum of services be easily available to positively impact these youth.
Ronis, S. T., & Wershler, J. L. (2013). Bridging the gap: A needs assessment of vulnerable male youth in Fredericton, A report to: Youth in Transition. Fredericton, NB: University of New Brunswick.
Wershler, J. L., & Ronis, S. T. (in press). Psychosocial characteristics and service needs of Canadian male suburban male youth at risk for homelessness. Children and Youth Services Review.
Wershler, J., Ronis, S. T., Malcom, K. E., & Johnston, N. E. (2013, November). Family links between maltreatment and outcomes among vulnerable male youth. Poster session to be presented at the meeting of the National Council on Family Relations, San Antonio, TX.
By Stephen Llewellyn, Daily Gleaner, April 17, 2012View