Youth at risk of homelessness in an affluent Toronto suburb.
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BACKGROUND: This study examines the characteristics and needs of 69 youth who are homeless, or at risk of homelessness at Pathway's Home Base Youth Drop-In Centre in the affluent suburb of Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. METHODS: A semi-structured interview examined demographics, characteristics, living arrangements, family characteristics, substance use, mental health, criminal activity and educational experiences of the youth in this sample. RESULTS: The majority of youth came from economically advantaged families and were currently residing with their parents, but were substantially more at risk than their mainstream peers in measures related to youth homelessness. The majority of Home Base youth had left home and school prematurely, been arrested in their lifetime, and used at least one illicit drug in the past 12 months. A substantial number of youth had been imprisoned, experienced physical abuse, and exhibited depressive symptomatology and suicidal ideation. CONCLUSION: Although living mainly at home and in a relatively affluent suburb, these youth have many attributes related to homelessness and may progress to homelessness without intervention.
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