Who are these young people in a situation of food insecurity?

Little is known about homeless youth, as this segment of the homeless population does not tend to go to shelters or troubleshooting services, but rather to wander from one acquaintance to another, homeless. As homelessness statistics are mainly based on the use of troubleshooting services and shelters, it is likely that the available data on youth homelessness underestimates the situation.

Nevertheless, a study by Segaert(1) reported that young âgé.es aged 16 to 24 made up about 20% of the homeless population. About 308 out of 100,000 young people are said to be homeless. It's huge! Discrimination is no exception to this condition as an aggravating factor: LGBTQ youth are more numerous among homeless youth, accounting for between 25 and 40% of the homeless youth population. (2) These young people report having difficulty finding shelters or they feel accepted.

The causes and consequences of youth homelessness are not the same as in adults or seniors. The means of helping them cannot be the same. Young people come from environments or homes characterized by family conflicts or marked by violence or abuse, neglect or food insecurity. They tend to want to get out of the system, so they do not get the social support that could help them get jobs and housing. They are more likely to fall into crime or prostitution.  

To help these young people, we must adapt to this reality and understand the factors that make a young person prefer to be on the street, but above all the factors that can prevent him from staying there! This is exactly what Nutrition Without Borders' HOPE project is tackling.

The sequence: ''I'm scared or I can't take it anymore ' I'm leaving home'' is hard to prevent. Not everyone has the same chance to be born in an environment conducive to personal development. But the rest of the sequence ''I'm hungry' – I have to fly to eat or I'm going to stay or squat with bad friends because at least there's alcohol, or food'' that can be stopped by offering young people services more adapted to their reality. Troubleshooting services and shelters are not places that appeal to young people, that is a fact. There are not enough specialized resources for homeless youth. And yet, having the innards that gurgle often risks tipping everything!

All young people dream of a way out. It is by accompanying them on the road to food self-sufficiency that NSF wants to encourage young people to get off the streets. The pretext? The collective kitchen! Around a kitchen, you can always re-invent the world. We socialize, we learn to eat better, we leave with a full stomach and with a few meals for the week. And after this beautiful moment between young people every week, accompanied by positive models of resilience who shared their passions to encourage us to put our talents to use, to engage in solidarity and collectively, we see other options than that of life on the street.

With the Covid crisis, the usual troubleshooting services to overcome food insecurity in general have received support. But services for young people are becoming increasingly scarce. Youth organizations have also suffered from the crisis. The homes of the young people close their doors because of the measures, pafrois permanently for lack of resources. School is less and less interesting. Don't we owe that at least as much support as we provide to adults?

The hope campaign needs your support! $2500 is needed by NSF to support a cohort of youth in a disadvantaged neighbourhood. These donations support NSF's volunteer professionals in the purchase of food and equipment for the holding of collective cooking activities and skills development workshops.

Does your company want to make a difference? Sponsoring a cohort of the HOPE project is easy, just bring together 10 people who agree to make a recurring donation of $20 per month.

Change the lives of young people with NSF. Donate $20 a month to sponsor a HOPE cohort!

Learn more about the HOPE project


(1) Segaert, Aaron. 2013. The National Shelter Study: Emergency shelter Use in Canada 2005-2009. Ottawa: Homelessness Partnering Secretariat, Human Resources and Skills Development Canada.

Segaert, Aaron and Alana Bauer. 2016. The Extent and Nature of Veteran Homelessness in Canada. Ottawa: Employment and Social Development Canada.

(2) Josephson, G., Wright, A. (2000). Ottawa GLBT wellness project: Literature review and survey instruments. Ottawa, ON: Social Data Research Limited. Retrieved from https://www.homelesshub.ca/sites/default/files/attachments/Literature_Review_and_Survey_Instruments.pdf