• Dagma Koyi

PODCAST 2: The Unforeseen Difficulties of Homelessness

Updated: Dec 13, 2021

Last week, R.E.S.T. released the second episode of Homelessness in Hiding: Our Youth Between the Cracks, where host Courtney Harris interviewed Nicholas Beckett, former Youth Council member at R.E.S.T. Centres, about his own personal experiences with homelessness, and how the homeless cycle affects the people stuck in it.

In the podcast, interviewer Courtney Harris asks Nicholas a very important question. “Did you ever anticipate being homeless at such a young age?” Nicholas exclaimed “NO! Absolutely NOT!” He then went on to explain that youth homelessness usually occurs because something traumatic happens such as a death in the family, situations of abuse, divorce, disaster, etc. Nicholas states that homelessness is usually unforeseen.

Overexposure to the cold kills more than 80 people each year, according to Environment Canada, with the homeless being particularly vulnerable. Additionally, 34 lives were lost on the streets of Toronto last year, and the public was particularly devastated after hearing a story of a 49-year-old homeless man who passed away after being told to leave a business he was hoping to warm up in (O'Neil, 2016).

Though Nicholas was lucky to be off the streets during the harsh, cold temperatures, he explained that he was “always aware of winter because of having to lug bags around and having to make sure that he had the appropriate attire for winter”. He stated that “often so much of his stuff went missing if he was moving from place to place, or it was just simply stolen.”

According to The Guardian, almost six out of ten homeless people claim to have been verbally harassed at some point during their time on the streets. Even more frightening, one out of every three homeless people claims to have been physically abused at some time in their lives (n.a., 2020) It's terrible enough to find yourself in a situation where you don't have constant accommodation, but to have to deal with these types of abuses is nearly inconceivable. These attacks can be disastrous for individuals of the homeless population.

A very important point of the discussion that was brought up was that some of the situations Nicholas was in, were not the safest. He elaborated that sometimes you need to “prolong risky and dangerous behaviours, prolong indecent exposure, and prolong being in a space where people may be abusing you just so that you can stay warm.”

Any traumatic incident that leaves you feeling lonely, overwhelmed, or powerless and disturbs your regular level of functioning is classified as trauma and may have long-term consequences for your mental health (Rokach, 2005). Nicholas comments that he would have “preferred being homeless with a family because being completely alone, isolated and transferred to a totally different region makes it all the more difficult to fathom and all the more confusing.”

To learn more about this topic and many others linked to understanding youth homelessness, hop on Spotify or Amazon Music to listen to the second episode of Homelessness in Hiding: Our Youth Between the Cracks.

O'Neil, L. (2016, November 3). CBC News – community – surviving winter: Sheltering Canada's homeless. Engage & Change. Retrieved November 10, 2021, from

Rokach, A. (2005). Private Lives in Public Places: Loneliness of the Homeless. Social Indicators Research, 72(1), 99–114.

The startling dangers of homelessness.

. (2020, February 27). Retrieved November 10, 2021, from




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