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SOC310H5 (39)

March 7 Reading.docx

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Zachary Levinsky

Class Considerations: Street Youth Chapter 8 March 7 , 2012 - Street involved youth are a group of young people working and/or working on or about the streets. - Estimated 150,000 youth living on Canada’s streets - Street entrenchment – forced economic survival, the (ab)use of drugs, violence and the denial of human dignity that comes with being immersed in street life. Who are street involved youth? - Chronic instability is instability in terms of housing, relationships, income and health. This characterizes and unites youth. - They usually stay together, engage in prostitution and commit petty offences. - The longer they are homeless for, the more crime they are likely to commit. - More males than females on streets. - In Vancouver, half street youth are females. In Toronto there is 1/3. - Street youth are more likely to have dropped out of school. - Lesbians, Aboriginals, refugees and young women in public care are overrepresented in the streets. Conditions - Not secure and safe living conditions. - Absolute homelessness – sleeping in places unfit for human habitation. - Relative homelessness – situations where basic standards are not met like unsafe rooming house. - When a person’s living conditions doesn’t meet the UN basic standard – affordable, secure, safe and clean with clean water – that person is considered homeless. Youth, Child Poverty and the “New” Welfare State - Three things account for why youth comprise such a significant portion of homeless population: o Reduction in affordable housing that is accessible to young people o Youth unemployment o Reduction in state benefit - These interrelated factors have all contributed to greater inequality and an unequal distribution of scarce resources. Unstable Living Situation - Neo liberal argument that these social failures should be made responsible for themselves and face the consequences. - Many Canadian cities are experiencing housing crisis. - Poverty and homelessness are intertwined social problems. - Issue should be understood not only in terms of poverty but also labour trends, family composition and government policies. Impact redistribution of wealth in society. - When vacancy rates are low, affordable housing for low income tenants, especially those on social assistance is significantly harder to come by. Unstable Youth Employment - Work doesn’t necessarily change one’s homeless status. - Even if youth are unemployed, it doesn’t change alter their poverty. - Squeegee kids are the more entrepreneurial type. There was a moral panic about them. Led to a number of municipal government making laws against them. - Squeegee kids were actually less involved in crime. - Shows how marginalized they are and how powerless they are. Unstable support: reduction in state benefits - Gap between rich and poor widening. - IN 1995 welfare state reduced its social welfare programs, creating more poverty. - Shifting to neo-liberalism. Social Exclusion: Case of Female Youth - Violence against girls and young women plays a significant role in them becoming homeless. - Many of them become pregnant. - They are more vulnerable to re-victimizing. - Prostitution. - Act aimed towards removing y
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