Street Smart Kidz of Canada has recognized this “horrible blight”, for the last 10 years”! As we have traveled and taught through out Canada we have met and talked with our Canadian homeless children coast to coast. But NEVER more so than BC. Especially Vancouver and Victoria. Kids from all over Canada end up here. Why? Weather! When they run away, for whatever reason and they just CAN’T/WON’T go back, over 62% of end up here. Homeless in Edmonton at -25 or under a overpass at plus 10? The others? Well, 22% of those are now involved in prostitution somewhere along the Trans Canada. As for the remaining, we just don’t know. Nobody does. Seattle has approximately 4,000 homeless children. Vancouver has over 1,000 and no one knows the number of Victoria kids on the street. Take a drive downtown Victoria and try and count the “KIDS” you see in the bus shelters inside sleeping bags! The last “SAFE SHELTER” for kids on Vancouver Island closed in July 2014. We will open one in 2016. If a child “WANTS” help, we give what we can because of our Super Heroes. In 2016, we will be able to help , assist, teach, feed and clothe with Street Smart Kidz House!
– Steven Baird, Street Smart Kidz Canada
Below is a segment of the original editorial published on the Seattle Times website, followed by a link to the full article.
Children on the street slip through the cracks; state has misplaced priorities
By Seattle Times editorial board
YOU have to look closely to see the homeless kids scattered like fallen leaves across the region. They often don’t want to be seen.
Despite our booming economy, homelessness is on the rise. Especially troubling is the number of youths living on the street. How did they end up there, and what can we do to help them? This Opinion project looks in depth at these issues and proposes solutions.
The lucky ones are tucked into shelters or transitional housing, or are sleeping on the couches of a friend or maybe a teacher’s, and waking up in time for a warm breakfast at school.
But many are scratching to survive in tent camps from Auburn to Everett. Homeless kids regularly sleep under Interstate 5 near Eastlake Avenue, in the shadow of condo towers and high-tech offices. King County has a sizable youth-shelter system, yet turned away at least six kids a night last winter.
It’s tough to nail down how many there are. The state’s annual Point in Time count tallied more than 4,000 children and young adults as homeless at any given moment, either in families or alone. King County counted more than 800 “unaccompanied” youths — meaning no parent in sight. But both numbers are likely too low because homeless kids develop the survival skill of becoming virtually invisible.
Life on the streets vastly raises the odds that awful things will happen to these kids. Just 40 percent of homeless boys graduate high school, and they have double the normal rate of suspension. Nearly half of kids in homeless shelters have mental illnesses…