by Daphne Winland, Stephen Gaetz, and Tara Patton
Young people become homeless largely because of challenges they experience within their families. We know well that conflicts within family - whether related to abuse, mental health, or addictions issues of either young people themselves or other family members – often lead young people to the streets. Because of this, most street youth serving agencies largely ignore the potential role of family members in helping people make the transition to adulthood. There are some exceptions, and one of these is the Family Reconnect program of Eva’s Initiatives in Toronto. In the report, Family Matters, this program is examined to evaluate how reconnecting with family may help some young people avoid long term homelessness. In doing this review, the authors raise some important questions about the Canadian response to youth homelessness. They argue for a rather radical transformation of this response, one that reconsiders the role of strengthened family (and community) relations in preventing and responding to youth homelessness.
There is also a one-page synposis of the study, Family Reconnect: A Path for Youth to Return from Homelessness?