HOW THEY EARN MONEY
This is an interesting study out of Canada. It was aired as part of “The First Edition” by CBC News in 2004. Despite it being 3 years old, I think the data has changed little over time. I also think the data would also apply to homeless youth almost anywhere in the world.
In 1999, the most comprehensive study about how street kids making their money was conducted by the Shout Clinic which offers health care to homeless youth. Among the findings:
· 36% of street youth earn money by panhandling or squeegeeing
· 19% do break and enters or sell drugs
· 18% receive social assistance
· 17% by have paid employment
· 10% do sex trade work
Some find legitimate work: Homeless youth had worked at an average of 3.1 legitimate jobs in the previous 12 months mainly in general labour, painting, welding, as bike couriers, cooks, cashiers, telemarketing, in baby sitting and retail sales.
Most have worked in the sex trade: 31% – including men and women – reported engaging in either street prostitution, phone or Internet sex, or massage/stripping at least once in their lives. Agencies like Street Outreach Services (SOS) focus on helping street youth out of prostitution.
Background determines how youth earn money: On average, sex workers left home at a younger age, had been on the street the longest, were most likely to have grown up in at least one foster homes, had the lowest educational credentials and left home because of problems pertaining to both physical and sexual assault.
In contrast, those who did property crimes or sold drugs were predominately male, were likely to have grown up in Toronto and were least likely to have experienced physical or sexual assault at home.
Would they like to work? When asked if they would like to find paid employment, 83.4% of males and 87.8% of females said yes. This indicates that street youth are unhappy about making money the way they do and would like paid employment instead.
Asked more specifically about under what conditions they would find accept a job:
· 53.7% said they would take any job if paid $20 an hour
· 35.5% would do just about any job
· 51.8% felt that any job was better than welfare
· 18.7% felt they would rather take welfare rather than a job they didn’t like
· 18.% said they would not mind being unemployed for awhile
Again, these results suggest a majority of street youth want a job, although they were not willing to accept any job offered.
When asked what was preventing them from getting jobs, reasons cited included:
· 45.2 % no fixed address
· 43.3% lack of work experience
· 44.5% no phone
· 40.2% no money for transportation for job search
· 34.7% don’t have the right clothes or appearance
· 21.3% legal problems
· 21.3% lack of motivation
· other problems which included waking up and keeping a schedule, health, and literacy problems.
Most young homeless people were optimistic they would find work, with 46.6% very hopeful, and 35.7% somewhat hopeful.