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SOC 3710 Lecture Notes - Squeegee, Making Money, Family Reunification

Course Code
SOC 3710
Bill O' Grady

of 4
February 12/2013
Young Offenders
Homeless Youth
o Young people who have left their home or origin and are not staying with any other care giver
o 3 living arrangements
1. Absolutely homeless: staying outdoors, sleeping in parks, on roof tops, alley ways,
squats, (abandoned buildings), under 16 can't stay in shelters
2. Shelters: majority of these shelters take in kids, provide food and clothing, sleeping
arrangements, between the ages of 16-24
3. Couch surfing: usually staying with relatives, friends, bounce around from place to place
o Sometimes homeless youth are technically housed but are still utilizing the services for street
youth - health clinics, soup kitchens
o Street counts: focuses on youth who are in shelters
o There is no known number of how many homeless youth there are in Canada
o Toronto: any given night there may be about 2 million homeless youth
o Young white, middle class females were seen as run aways in America
o These kids could more accurately be described as "throw aways" - kicked out of there homes
o Back in the 80's we began to realize that a lot of the kids on the streets had problems at home -
abusive parents, drug and alcohol addicted parent
o Homelessness is more of a process than an event: a lot of kids will take off but since their
parents call the police, they become "missing persons"
Average time kids go missing: 2 days
They become repeat missing people before they actually stay away for good
Background: who is homeless?
o Non heterosexual youth are more likely to be homeless - about 20% in Toronto
o Don't do well in school
o Negative home environment
o Poor families that move around a lot
o Usually can't tolerate the circumstances in their households and say life on the streets is less
o A lot of homeless youth had grown up in foster care or group homes
o Ethnic composition in Toronto: pretty much reflective of the general population
o 51% in Toronto homeless youth are either immigrants or ethnic minorities
o Aboriginal kids are overrepresented in street counts
o Up until the 90's, most research was looking at who these kids where and why they were on the
streets. The interest began to shift to why so many of them were involved in crime
o Mean streets: book - did a study of street youth in Toronto and Vancouver
Interviewed kids in shelters about theft, drug dealing and prostitution
They wanted to know if their backgrounds were different than others who didn't get
involved in these activities
Could background predict crime involvement? Looked at family life, how well they did in
Theory connection: can use social bonding theory and strain theory to take home
environments into account
Also asked situational factors about their current living situations: how many times have
you gone without food in the last week, where did you sleep last night, how much
money do you have in your pocket
Predictors of crime: found that the best predictors of getting involved in the sex trade, B
& E etc, were situational factors, which background factors were good at explaining why
kids end up on the streets in the first place
Duration of time on the street also relates to crime- the longer, the more likely to get
involved in crime
Social service model: higher amount of services in Toronto
Law and order model: more common in Vancouver
Gaetz & O'Grady
o Study in Toronto called Shout
o Wanted to look at what sort of services street kids were utilizing
o Also wanted to look at how street kids made money other than getting involved in street crime
o Interviewed kids in shelters, on the streets
o Asked questions about the sex trade and prostitution
Found it might be done on a need to basis- didn't regularly engage in prostitution
o Asked questions about pan handling and squeegeeing (now criminalized)
o Asked if they have a real job
o Asked if they get any kind of government assistance
o Drug dealing
o Other
o Asked what their main way of making money was in the past 2 weeks
15% through jobs
Government assistance: emergency welfare, employment insurance, disability
PNA: personal needs assistance- what you get when you're living in a shelter, about 25$
a week
12% panhandling and 17% squeegee
10% sex workers
Other: boyfriends, pimps, student loans
o Did another study on kids who used squeegee before it was outlawed
Most said their money making shifted to panhandling
Some shifted to drug dealing
o Gardner Express and Lakeshore
o Study also wanted to look at who tried to make legitimate money compared to who turned to
crime or
Found kids who had jobs were on the streets for shorter periods of time, temporarily on
the streets until they had enough money to afford rent, usually finished high school,
least likely to be using hard drugs
Kids on government assistance: a lot of them were females, mothers
Kids in the sex trade: most had been sexually abused as kids, involved in heavy drug use
Kids in the drug trade: a lot of them grew up in Toronto, likely to be drug users
o Kids involved in the dirtiest kinds of work had the worst backgrounds and situational adversity
o The longer you are engaged in homelessness, the more likely it is you will get involved in drug
dealing, sex trade ect.
o About 65% of kids on the streets are male
o Where are the girls? A lot of them are with the "boyfriends" in order to stay off the streets and
decrease their vulnerability
The media often portrays homeless youth as all the same, when in fact they are very different.
Once you're street involved, what do you do to get kids off the street?
o Jeff Karabanow
o Suggests that leaving the streets is not an event either, it's a process
o You need to have money, some sort of steady income, access to affordable housing
o Housing is the most important issuing to deal with, the other problems such as addiction are
easier to address once they are more stable and housed
o Getting away from your old friends: if one person gets a place, others might try couch surf and
party there
o Family reunification: a lot of times, these kids can go back to their families
Turning 25
o No longer eligible for youth services
o Moved into the adult system
o Rougher shelters
Services in Canada
o Not very collaborative
o Uncoordinated
o Mostly volunteer organizations
o A lot of them end up in the criminal justice system