1 min

Survey says…

Though Pride House’s doors won’t be opening anytime soon, the aborted project’s needs-assessment study clearly confirmed the need for a shelter for queer homeless youth in Vancouver.

Researchers interviewed 60 local street youth in the summer of 2002 and asked them if they could use a queer shelter and, if so, what services they’d like it to have.

Among the study’s principle findings:

• Though most respondents said it’s dangerous to identify as queer on the streets, almost all agreed with the need for designated queer youth housing. As one respondent told the researchers: “Most of the people I lived in group homes with were homophobic… I’d have to listen to them make all these gay jokes and I just wouldn’t say anything.” Researchers found fewer services available to queer street youth than their straight counterparts.

• Many respondents were on the street due to family breakdowns. As one youth said, “Life on the streets can be very dangerous for queer/trans youth. Life at ‘home’ can be very scary and very heartbreaking for queer/trans youth. Where can youth who identify as queer or trans feel safe, if being ‘home’ can be scary?”

• The respondents said they’d like a queer drop-in shelter, with queer staff and an on-site nurse, a community kitchen and drop-in meals, a clothing room, and employment services.

• The majority of male respondents also said they’d like queer youth rehab facilities. And while many said they’d favour a supportive, inclusive, non-judgemental atmosphere, they recommended separate areas for addicted youth and youth trying to quit drugs or alcohol.

• Stressing other areas of incompatibility, the majority of respondents also recommended different floors or wings for the various sub-groups within the broader queer street youth community.