Safe housing, while a luxury for some, is something more than 150 youth in the region don’t have access to with not enough shelter beds and an affordable housing crisis exacerbating the issue.
“Safe housing is a place where you can have some privacy, separation from the outside world as you desire, and avoidance of things like overcrowding and being around behaviour or activities that make you feel unsafe,” said Colin Tessier, executive director of Threshold Housing Society, a Victoria organization that aims to support youth and help them find safe housing. “It’s a place where a young person feels they have support and healing and can grow from.”
Tessier said many of the youth experiencing homelessness in the region, and those who work with the organization, come from precarious and often dangerous or unhealthy situations. They’ve likely been through a lot of transitions in their life and even find themselves in situations where they’re being abused. Their at-home situations become so dire that they start to search for other options to avoid being traumatized any further.
“There are youth who sleep on our streets every night and it’s more than a couple. It’s a hidden homeless scenario but they’re just trying to find a place to rest their head at night,” Tessier said.