There is no true picture of how many youth in Penticton are experiencing housing instability or true homelessness. The Foundry and the City of Penticton are trying to find that out through a survey for youth.
Foundry Penticton has extended the deadline to March 13 to find out how many youth are experiencing homelessness in Penticton.
Originally, the deadline for youth to fill out the survey was March 1, but the Foundry wanted to make sure everyone had an opportunity to participate so they could get a fuller picture.
Youth, ages 12-24, that face housing problem or have experienced being without a home are the main target of the survey.
Currently, there is no count of how many youth experience home instability, couch surfing or living on the streets, said Adam Goodwin, who is in charge of social development for the city, which has partnered with Foundry on this survey and its results.
School District 67 allowed them to put posters up around all the schools letting youth know about the survey which can be accessed through a QR code as well as going online.
Around 200 youths have participated so far, said Goodwin. The survey is for every youth to fill out to share their experiences with what they know or what a friend has experienced if they haven’t experienced it themselves, said Goodwin.
Foundry needs to know how to best address youth housing in Penticton. Do we need emergency beds? Low rent housing for youth? A youth shelter? This issue needs to be addressed in our community, said the Foundry.
Results of the survey are expected in April.
Foundry Penticton offers a variety of services including counselling/mental health support, substance use support, physical and sexual health, family peer support, employment and housing support.
A young person under 18 is not allowed to stay at a homeless shelter under provincial regulations. There is also no treatment centres for youth experiencing substance use in Penticton.
Ten beds just recently opened in Kelowna for those ages 12 to 18, but that is for the entire population of Interior Health. The contractor of a 22-bed residential treatment centre for youth suffering from addictions recently announced it will no longer operate in Keremeos. It’s unknown if a new provider will come in.
The Province has promised to add 120 residential treatment beds for youth over the next 10 years.
To take the survey click here.