The following article appeared in the Times Colonist, August 30th, 2012; written by Judy Lavoie.
Around a table at a Vic West house, three young people are tucking into beef stew, mashed potatoes and fruit salad. It’s dinner night at the transitional home for youth run by Threshold Housing Society, and life-skills coach Peggy English has been teaching cooking skills. “That means I cook it,” she said. Matthew, 20, and Katherine, 19, have aged out of the foster care system, while 18-year-old Cody left foster care early. All are grateful to have one of the few spots in Victoria for the growing number of homeless youth. Matthew, who had been with his foster parents since he was nine, doesn’t like to think about the alternatives.
“If I hadn’t got it, I would have been on the streets,” he said.
Young people have become the “hidden homeless” of Victoria, said Andrew Wynn-Williams, executive director of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness. It is estimated that about 600 youth between 19 and 24 are without homes and couch-surfing, living in vehicles or camping. Although accurate counts are difficult to conduct, Victoria is likely seeing a trend like Vancouver’s, which had a 29 per cent increase in homeless youth over three years, said Wynn-Williams.