Homeless in KFL&A – Stories from Youth
This is a collection of stories from just a small group of youth who are homeless in Kingston and area. Sharing their journey is one way to communicate the impact of donations made by community members just like you. Allow us to introduce you to the following young people who have benefited from this life-changing support.
Aidan – 18 years old
My mom disappeared when I was a toddler. I was put in the care of my grandmother. She moved often and had addiction issues. I spent two years living in a car.
I continued to attend school wherever I was. I moved with my grandmother to Kingston a few years ago and, at the age of 15, was placed in foster care. It was the first time I slept in a bed by myself and had my own space.
I finished high school, and I’m currently living in one of the transitional homes. I’m enrolled in a program at St. Lawrence College.
Amanda – Homeless at age 15
My mom had been threatening to kick me out for a couple of years. The first time I was locked out. I was 15. I would stay at my friend’s house. My mom became unbearable, she was constantly yelling at me and smashing my things. I thought she was going to kick me out, so I went to my school counsellor and they said there was a place they could get me into. I was able to get an apartment, my mom kicked me out once she found out.
I lived in Napanee. There are homeless youth there and there aren’t a lot of resources. So I ended up moving to Kingston. Most youth who become homeless aren’t well prepared to take care of themselves. As a youth, your housing should be provided for you so that you can have friends, study and do what you are supposed to do.
I like to be independent and not have anyone controlling my life. I’m really busy trying to be an adult. I’m aiming to get into University and I’m also taking a smart serve course so I can get into waitressing.
Autumn – Homeless at age 16
I have been without a home since I was 16, I’m 20 now. I was sexually and physically abused by both parents since I was young. I finally gave up one night and started talking back so they kicked me out that night. Somebody told me there was youth shelter in Kingston so the next morning I bought a train ticket and decided to check it out.
There I finished high school, and they told me about RISE. Where I am now, you get support, but you also get to live on your own and see what it’s like. It’s safe. I want to get my own apartment someday. I just finished a placement to get ready for job interviews. I’m planning to go to university.
Youth homelessness is a problem in Kingston. Not everybody notices how hard it is to be homeless. Many youth don’t yet know how to act like adults or how they should be treated. I’ve learned that it’s a bad day, not a bad life. You can make the changes you want to make if you focus on them. When you decide you’re ready, there are people who want to help.
Homeless in Kingston Ontario – Dylan
I’m originally from Thunder Bay. I was adopted when I was 6 months and lived in 12 different foster homes. When I was 12 I started couch-surfing the homes of friends. I left for Belleville when I was 16 to move in with my girlfriend. When we broke up I was homeless and slept in a tent for two years.
At 18, I moved to Kingston and was in and out of the youth shelter and the streets for a few years. I am 20 now, and in transitional/supported housing. I’m no longer on drugs and I work two jobs.
Homeless in Kingston Ontario – Justin
My home wasn’t a positive place and I didn’t feel safe. When I got kicked out I had no options so I couch surfed for a while. I knew I had to get away from my friends. My high school social worker told me about the shelter. After staying there a couple of months I got my own apartment style room. The youth workers are down the hall if I need them and it’s good because I’m still trying to cope with my previous home life and depression and anxiety. I have a job now and I’m learning skills to live independently.
As kids, we can’t always control what happens to us, but when you decide you’re ready, there are people who want to help.
Homeless in Kingston – Marissa
I bounced around different jobs, because of self-esteem issues and depression which resulted in me fighting with my parents. It was getting really toxic on both sides. I ended up wanting to leave, and my counsellor brought me into the youth shelter.
I was 20 when I left. The first night in the shelter I was lonely, sad and scared because I didn’t know what was going to happen to me, and it wasn’t home.
Now my situation is better. In here I feel safe, and know that I have a stable roof over my head. I can plan things out more. Here I have my own food and my own room. I get a lot of support from the staff to help me find a job and permanent housing. I have people to talk to when I’m upset. I’ve met a lot of different people and some have turned into really good friends. My relationship with my parents is better now, although I’m not at home with them, so I miss them.
There are more homeless kids out there than you think. You are not alone, we can all help each other. Talk to people you trust, so that they can understand you and your situation.
Homeless in Kingston – Paige
I’ve been in and out of different homes since I was 14. I’m 19 now. It began with family dynamics when I was younger, I was trying so hard to be self sufficient when I was young and put so much pressure on myself. The first night away from home was frightening at first, but in a way I felt more comfortable. I could not cope with the constant changes of new service providers, changes of behaviors, and the risks and dangers others were surrounding me with.
I moved into the transitional program in 2014, it’s been good. I’ve learned a lot in the program about how to work on myself, and life skills to live independently.
Susan, homeless in Grade 11
I have depression and anger issues and stuff. I wasn’t allowed to live with my mom so I moved in with my dad, but that didn’t work out either. He was an alcoholic and I was taking care of him all the time. I ended up in the hospital struggling with mental illness. When I was discharged I had no place to go. A nurse got me into a shelter and the youth worker there really helped me. I graduated grade eleven and this year I’m taking photography. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.
Sydney, homeless at age 18
I lived in foster homes and was adopted into a dysfunctional family when I was young. Then my dad died and I moved out, but I experienced so much abuse, neglect, and trauma before I was 18 that I ended up being admitted to the hospital’s mental health unit. When I got out I had no place to stay. I ended up at a young women’s shelter and now I live in transitional housing and volunteer with a mental health association. I’m applying to a social work program. Mental health is a day-to-day process and everyone deserves to live a happy life.
Trevor – Homeless in Kingston
I grew up in a small town and my parents and I fought a lot – mostly – verbal but sometimes physical. Mine was kind of a kicked out / I’m leaving scenario. I went to the city and stayed in adult shelters. There’s been lots of violence and drugs and your stuff gets stolen in adult shelters. Because of my anxiety I spent most nights on the streets.
Even though I was homeless my goal was to go to school, find a job, and then find a place to live. Despite some pretty time-consuming and exhausting hurdles, I’ve been accepted to college and into transitional housing. I want to be a counsellor someday.
HOW CAN I HELP YOUTH IN MY COMMUNITY?
One way to help homeless youth in Kingston, Ontario is to make a donation that will support youth services in your community.
Follow this link Help Give A Youth Shelter or click on the image below and you will be directed to our Gift of Hope page where you can change a life.
Please visit our Youth Homelessness page for more information and links to resources.