"Managing" Homeless Youth in Toronto: Mismanaging Food Access and Nutritional Well-Being

Although the magnitude of homelessness in Canada remains poorly documented, there is broad consensus that the problem has grown in size and complexity in recent years. According to the Toronto Report Card on Housing and Homelessness 2003 (City of Toronto, 2003), about 32, 000 individuals - an increase of 21% since 1990 - stayed in emergency shelters across the city in 2002. When all those who sleep in indoor or outdoor public places or stay temporarily with friends or relatives are also taken into account, the true population of homeless people in the city must be considerably greater. Further, the "face" of homelessness is changing, with youth representing one of the fastest growing and most vulnerable subgroups (Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, 2001; Golden, et al., 1999; Roy, Haley, Ledere, Cedras, Biais, & Boivin, 2003).Communities across Canada are currently struggling to establish and sustain effective responses in the face of growing numbers of homeless people in their midst. At the core of community responses are a myriad of services to help homeless people meet their basic subsistence needs for shelter, food, personal hygiene, and primary health care. At the same time, there has been increased emphasis on policing strategies to curtail panhandling, squeegeeing, and other activities of homeless youth.

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Canadian Review of Social Policy
Toronto, ON, Canada