Jordan bounced around from foster home to foster home until he aged out of the system and was left to survive on his own. His experience left him feeling that whatever and wherever home was, was no better than the streets; and so, when he had to choose between the city’s shelters or the city streets, he chose the streets.
Years without family or peer stability and support had left their mark on Jordan and once out on the streets, his education suffered. He dropped out of school in Grade 10. Alone, hungry, scared and exhausted, Jordan needed a change. He heard about YSM’s Evergreen Centre for Street Youth and visited one day to have a meal and find a place to get off the streets for a while.
Jordan found something else when he visited — people who cared and showed him dignity. Over time he began to believe that there might be a way forward. Supported by YSM Evergreen staff, he began to use our health, legal, counselling and employment services. Jordan found a job in roofing that allowed him to afford an apartment. Continuing with counselling and getting his GED helped him to heal on the inside. Jordan says, “Life has been hard, but I am finding a way to live the life I want with the help of Evergreen staff.”
No one wants to live on the streets. Yet many do, and many of them are youths. These youths have often fallen through the cracks of the foster system or faced domestic abuse or LGBTQ discrimination at home. They see life on the streets as the lesser of two evils. But this life demands a set of survival skills that even most adults don’t possess as the fear of being robbed, hurt, raped or arrested constantly surrounds them. Many street youth want to look to the future, but street culture can be cold, harsh and soul destroying.