“I want to be able to show everyone that it is possible to go from being nothing in the world to being something”: Identity as a determinant of social integration

Abstract

Compared to the vast amount of literature on what drives young people to homelessness and what keeps them there, there is notably less empirical evidence on the experiences of young people who have left the streets and attempted to integrate into the mainstream. Over the course of ten months, we followed nine young people from Canada's largest city – Toronto, Ontario – who had exited street life and were living independently. In this paper, we discuss how the participants attempted to carve out new identities and how these identities were challenged. We argue that it is crucial to incorporate identity into the way social integration is conceptualized and facilitated for young people attempting the daunting task of transitioning away from homelessness.

Publication Date: 
2018
Journal Name: 
Children and Youth Services Review