A Penticton-based report stating one in 20 youth in the city may be homeless has been sent to Victoria and Ottawa for further examination.
The provincial and federal governments are expected to review the “Nowhere to Go” document which includes a plea for action after it was discovered that almost a quarter of youth in Penticton feel like they have no one to turn to for support.
“We are in a crisis,” begins the letter sent from Penticton to Victoria and Ottawa.
“Perhaps it does not personally affect you or your constituents, however, it puts the lives of our youth at risk and harm, and their futures become derailed and uncertain because of the social problems of housing.”
Penticton city council endorsed the report in February after a local research committee presented its findings, most notably, that one in 20 youth aged 12 to 24 may be homeless.
“We need your help in supporting early prevention and intervention efforts to ensure no young person is ever left alone in our community,” wrote Kim Conroy and Melisa Edgerly, who co-chaired the committee.
By sending a copy of the report to the higher levels of government, Penticton council has fulfilled its promise that the document will be an “active blueprint for change.”
Youth homelessness in Penticton has been previously described as an “imperative issue that must be addressed” by mayor John Vassilaki.
Copies of the report have been delivered to the provincial ministries of health, housing, mental health and addictions, children and families, education, advanced education and public safety.
Federally, the ministry of housing will have access to the full document.
“This cycle must be broken, and we must come from a place of community, and a place of understanding of how we got here,” part of the letter reads.