End youth homelessness in Canada
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Some of you do know that there are two words that exist in our country Canada and that is youth homelessness. What many people do not know is how difficult it really is to be a youth and homeless.
Hello my name is Samira Abdalla Alryani, I am a 19 year old girl born and raised in Kingston, Ontario. About 4 months ago, I was having issues at home and these issues got me living in a shelter called The Kingston Youth Shelter. It is a shelter for young women and men age 16-24. Now what I was mostly shocked about, is the way the staff treated the youths there and their policy. You had some okay staff and then there were those that really liked to pick and choose their enemies.
The majority of the youths there were treated like criminals, including myself. A person there was accused for something he didn’t do and just like that, they kicked him out. The streets became his new home. I was also kicked out for a few days for helping this person and for paraphernalia. The streets became my new home as well. I called every other shelter and many crisis lines hoping to get help because I needed food and a roof over my head. However none were able to help me due to my eligibility (I was young for some shelters). I was on a waiting list for one of the shelters and they took a long time to call me back.
Everyday, some of us had to have all our clothes and essentials needs locked up in a little room altogether because the staff did not trust us. We were on restricted services. Sometimes there would be food and sometimes there would be nothing to eat or very little food. I told the staff I would take these issues up to human rights code because our voices didn’t matter here. Because of this I was no longer allowed to enter the shelter or use their services anymore.
I called someone I knew for help who then called the shelter to clarify why they are treating the youths unfairly. The shelter responded with many lies saying I was not kicked out for good and that I was welcome back anytime. However this was not informed to me. The staff took all my stuff put it right next to the door at around 8 pm night time and kicked me out.
I could go on and tell you a lot more that many people do not know of. And still till this very same day, the same is happening to these youths who are looking for hope and help because home isn’t safe. Our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that ‘Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of the person.’ But many of us were not given these legal rights at the shelter. The staff was very unfair and they kicked anyone out. Even if you stood up for yourself in the right away, you are warned not to do it again or you will be kicked out.
The shelter has many rules and one of them is that you are kicked out everyday at 9 am and cannot return until 12 pm, but you are not allowed to use their services until after 4 pm (no showers, laundry, sleeping..) This was extremely difficult for a lot as many would wind up outside not knowing where to go and what to do. Loitering is prohibited in many places too if you are not a customer. And this became a even bigger problem.
I am hoping that we all end youth homelessness and the word homeless once in for all. We all deserve to live as human beings, especially those that are still young. We are still children with a future ahead of us. No human deserves to sleep outside or be put outside regardless of who they are. It is completely wrong and there is so much of it in Canada. It needs to end. There are many that still continue to suffer, especially that now it is winter.
Shelters are designed to be a place full of hope. But the truth is, it is more of a prison than a home. Crime rates go higher when people are put in the streets. We must change this, this is not the Canada that we know. We are better than this. Now let’s make that change and stop the unfairness. I speak for everyone who has went through this and still is going through it but much worse. We do not work with those that control us and treat us like criminals. We are all humans.
This message needs to reach Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Let’s stop the injustices in this country.
May God bless you all.
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