There are approximately 65,000 homeless youth across Canada.
We are the only supportive housing for young men in Windsor-Essex County. The Salvation Army is intended for short-term emergency use and is aimed at adults 18 and over. The Inn of Windsor does provide emergency shelter for males 16-18, however, only females are eligible for the residential program. In speaking with both the Catholic and the Windsor-Essex District School Board, they estimate approximately 120 "couch-surfing" teen males in school in Windsor and Essex County who would benefit from these types of supportive housing projects.
Windsor-Essex County has a higher average of children and youth, drug use, unemployment, low income families, and poverty in comparison to the rest of province. In addition to increased costs of energy and food, there is high demand for affordable housing. Windsor has some of the highest vacancy rates for housing but is also experiencing extremely long waiting lists for individuals to obtain affordable social housing. A homeless youth can expect to wait up to 8 years for a single bedroom apartment.
Local research shows that there is a need for programs that specifically address the issue of male youth homelessness in Windsor and Essex County. These studies recommend safe, affordable, youth-specific housing that teaches life-skills while addressing issues unique to homeless youth (e.g. higher school drop out rates, literacy, substance abuse, sexual exploitation, poverty, and mental health). Supportive housing projects provide youth with the opportunity to learn and practice independent living skills in a safe and encouraging environment.
WRYM addresses this gap in services and provides supportive, transitional housing for young men 16-20 years of age who are homeless or are at risk of becoming homeless or who are living in an unacceptable environment or in a marginal situation without appropriate adult support. These men are able to focus on their education, seeking employment and learning valuable independent living skills.