The preliminary results are in for the second of its kind Kamloops Youth Homelessness count…and the results are not good.
A Way Home Society Executive Director Katherine McParland says the numbers of homeless kids has increased in the city.
“In the last 12 months 136 youth identified that they had experienced homelessness in the past year. 92 of these kids identified that they were homeless May 8th to 10th. So what we have seen is that 57 of these kids were absolutely homeless. This means they had absolutely nowhere to go and not even the ability to couch surf.”
She says again a number of youth were found to be experiencing hidden homelessness, with no homes of their own rather instead doing things like couch surfing with friends.
“And what we have seen with this type of homelessness was a strong representation of young girls experiencing this. We relate this to survival rape where young people are having to trade sexual favours in order to have a safe place to be. 21% of the youth in our survey identified that this was their source of income.”
McParland says, affordable housing, or a lack thereof, is a big driver in rising numbers of homeless youth.
She says new emphasis is now on having a provincial plan to tackle youth homelessness, including improving communication across ministries.