Our doorbell rang last night, it was eleven o’clock. My granddaughter Marcia went down to answer the door. As suspected, the caller was Marcia’s friend, a teen who is living on the street. The teen was in rough shape, crying and coaxing to spend the night. Marcia refused and sent her friend on her way.
Homelessness is an extreme form of poverty characterized by the instability of housing and the inadequacy of income, health care supports and social supports. Homelessness includes absolute (living on the street or chronic) homelessness, sheltered homelessness, hidden homelessness, and those who are at-risk of homelessness or unstably housed. from
A PORTRAIT OF HOMELESSNESS IN GREATER SAINT JOHN’, Written by: Belinda Allen, Published by: Human Development Council March 2008
This was an emotional difficult action for Marcia; to turn her back on her friend. How does this happen in our small city that there is a homeless teen? The scenario from my viewpoint is rebellious teen does not get along with parents, begins using drugs i.e. smoking pot. Now some of my acquaintances tell me that smoking pot is not doing drugs and that everyone does it. Well I don’t! It has been my experience that in many, many cases pot is a gateway drug. For this teen, that was the case. The teen was smoking cigarettes, then pot, then drinking and soon they committed an illegal act. Then off to a residential drug facility. But the teen did not last there and was evicted for not following the rules. Fast forward a year and the teen has been in an out of every facility and sinking further. Yet there is so little acknowledgement of teens living on the street that I could find only a few images for my blog. The teens move from shelters to coach surfing with friends. But as the friends are also teens the hosts are actually the parents. The couch surfing teen invariably wears out their welcome by their actions.
Homelessness for teens starts the minute a parent says “you’re kicked out”. If you or someone you know is having difficult times with your teens I beg you to consider alternate solutions. However, should you came home and find your house demolished, the teen physically attacking other family members or stealing/selling your possessions there is probably no other option that making them leave. Never worry about others knowing of your problems, there are many families in the same circumstance.
We love these children so, so much. The last thing we want is to see them sleeping in the Market Square Parking garage. Every parent shall act as their conscious dictates. Remember children and teens pattern what they see. It is impossible to preach abstinence in a home where parents are abusing substances. There may be some cases in which non using teens from well-rounded families go off to live on the streets as a lark. That is not the case in Saint John.
But no one asked me about the homeless teens in Saint John, NB!