Can homelessness be hidden? A preview to our podcast
Last week, R.E.S.T. released the first episode of Homelessness in Hiding: Our Youth Between the Cracks, where host Mya Moniz interviewed R.E.S.T. Founder and C.E.O., Dagma Koyi.
Throughout the episode, many topics on understanding youth homelessness were covered, such as the racialized groups that struggle with homelessness, the importance of funding for non-profit organizations such as R.E.S.T., and more.
The discussion on the difficulties that teenagers experience in obtaining housing is one topic in the podcast that deserves a spotlight. According to the podcast, many young people are unable to begin renting a home because landlords require specific information from them before allowing them to become tenants, such as credit reports, references, and more.
“The layers of barrier to homeless youth securing housing are multiple says Koyi. “Some of them do not have a job, The vast majority do not have previous landlord-tenant experience, especially if they are coming from Children’s Aid Society.”
Around 38% of homeless youth age out of child protection services and shelters and are left to fend for themselves; with various hurdles preventing them from getting a space to rent out. Many youths are forced to live out on the streets or couch surf.
According to Koyi, landlords are attempting to ensure that they will receive their payments without difficulty. Some age prejudice exists, such as the assumption that youth will not be accountable for their property. “These young people who have come to us from the emergency shelter system feel that finding a place is impossible.” R.E.S.T. program helps youth find caring landlords in the community and while housed R.E.S.T. continues to engage with both landlord and the youth to ensure successful tenancy.
In addition to all of these problems, because some of these young individuals are vulnerable in their search for a place to call home, they may fall prey to landlords who provide rooms that are far from adequate. “We’ve had people who have been in illegal basements. We’ve had young people who rented rooms with no privacy, for example a young lady whose landlord adult son walked into her room un announced many times. Without support many youths become vulnerable to all kinds of exploitation.
To hear the fascinating details on this subject and many others related to understanding youth homelessness, you can listen to the first episode of Homelessness in Hiding: Our Youth Between the Cracks on Spotify and Buzzsprout.