Being homeless is tragic and scary, but there is some help for youths who are on the streets.
Youth Without Shelter (YWS) is a Toronto-based organization dedicated to providing a safe space to homeless youth in the area. They provide different programs to help youth including emergency residence, staying in school, life skills, employment and mental health.
The YWS website notes 26 per cent of homeless youth in Toronto identify as LGBTQ+ and 78 per cent identify with a racialized minority group. The YWS focuses on “empowering youth facing homelessness to reach individual potential.”
During the pandemic, 57 per cent of service providers said meeting basic needs like food and shelter was a large challenge.
Access to personal protective equipment (PPE) was difficult for 43 per cent of people, while 40 per cent found it difficult to find a safe space to self-isolate.
YWS also gives opportunities for the community to get involved by hosting different events.
Humber’s event management program had the chance to collaborate with YWS by hosting a Fun-Raising Carnival last Monday.
The event was created and run by students in the program and served as their final project of the year.
“There are a lot of homeless youth out there and a lot of people forget that there’s not a lot of resources for youth when when it comes to things like this and they all, or a lot of them get swept under the rug,” said Kaylyn Lau, an event management student who worked the carnival as a booth vender.
The class was split into three teams with each team deciding on what they wanted their event to focus on.
One team chose to do a bake sale. Another team invited students to practice different skills like crocheting. The third team thought a carnival would be a good way to combine the previous events.
“We planned the risk management, the food, the costing and with the help of our professors, we were able to come with this idea and we found sponsors and donors,” event management student Micah Bautisca said.
The event featured different booths for students to win prizes, a life-size chess game, a food drive and someone brought a guitar to play live music.
Tracey Grieveson said YWS is an organization that the program’s done partnerships with in the past, this is their third semester partnering with them.
“The first three weeks of the program, we really talk about the client, which is Youth Without Shelter and we learn a lot of what they are about, what are their initiatives, those types of things,” she said.
“Then in the third, fourth week, we actually invite the client in so that the students get to interact directly with the client, get a real in depth view of what the initiatives are, and then the students start preparing for their event and they have about six week to do the preparation,” Grieveson said.
She said there’s about 2,400 youths in Toronto that are living on the streets for various reasons.
The shelter is located in North Etobicoke and they provide refuge for people aged between 16 and 24.