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Advocacy group to tackle youth homelessness

As many as 10 homeless youth were identified in a study last February and an advocacy group in Coquitlam is hosting a forum to find ways to help them and others who cycle in and out of homelessness. - THINKSTOCK.COM
As many as 10 homeless youth were identified in a study last February and an advocacy group in Coquitlam is hosting a forum to find ways to help them and others who cycle in and out of homelessness.
— image credit: THINKSTOCK.COM

The Tri-Cities Homelessness Task Group has formed a separate committee targeting youth homelessness and is planning a forum in May to deal with the issue.

In a survey conducted over a four-week period last February and recently made public, as many as 10 people between the ages of 12 and 24 years were identified as homeless and as many as 225 were identified as possibly at risk of homelessness because they are in unsafe, unhealthy, illegal or temporary situations.

Over a 10-month period, School District 43 reported there were 23 homeless youth, according to the report.

Task group chair Sandy Burpee said youth homelessness is mostly invisible because young people don't necessarily sleep out of doors but find accommodation that may not be safe for them. It's expected that their parents will look after them but because of poverty, neglect or conflict, are unable to do so, he said. As well, youth may be have mental health issues that prevent them from making healthy decisions.

Gaps in services were identified in the survey and the spring forum will set priorities and a plan for action.

"We're not saying there are no supports available in TC but frontline workers thought there need to be more," Burpee said.

dstrandberg@tricitynews.com

 

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