From Raising the Roof's website... Why are youth a priority?

There are many reasons. Here are just a few:

  • It has been estimated that one-third of Canada's homeless population are youth. On any given night, that means close to 65,000 young people are without a place to call home.
  • Abuse and neglect are two of the major reasons why young people leave home. Several studies show that nearly 70% of homeless youth have experienced some form of sexual, physical or emotional abuse.
  • Homeless youth are exposed to significantly more physical abuse, sickness, injury and mental health problems than their non-homeless peers, with often long-term implications for their self-esteem, relationships, and ability to become self-supporting. A Quebec study found that the death rate among homeless youth was 11 times higher than in the general population.

The costs to society

  • The cost of keeping a youth in the shelter system is not easily defined, but estimates are between $30,000 - $40,000 per year (Homelessness: Causes and Effects, 2001).
  • Keeping just one youth in detention adds up to over $250 a day, or $100,000 a year (Dept. of Justice: National Crime Prevention Centre, 2001).


Not only is helping Canada's homeless youth the right thing to do, it is also a wise investment in our country. When we provide these young people with the skills and knowledge to become financially independent and self-sufficient, we are supporting them to become contributing members of society. Ultimately, we are enabling them to give back - socially and financially - to their communities.