Research project to target city’s homeless young men
By STEPHEN LLEWELLYN
17 Apr 2012 08:12AM
What is the best way to help homeless young men in Fredericton between the age of 16 and 18?
University of New Brunswick associate psychology Prof. Scott Ronis thinks the answer can be found by asking homeless residents. He plans to do that with the help of Youth in Transition Inc. and a $70,000 grant from the federal government.
Ronis plans to train four at-risk young men to become researchers and interview about 200 participants to determine their housing needs.
“Basically we’re going to try to get these kids involved with mentors, involved in learning job skills, involved in the research process,” he said Monday.
The project will teach them “about confidentiality, about privacy and all the things we think would be important and then they will be involved in going out and getting the information from the youth.”
It isn’t always easy for researchers to reach the population in question and get the necessary data on trauma, mental health, family relations, substance abuse and barriers to accessing services, said Ronis.
“The better way to do that is to have their peers collect the data,” he said.
Ronis said participatory research on homelessness is unique.
The research will be done this summer and fall and a report will be published in March, he said.
Fredericton Conservative MP and Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Keith Ashfield announced the federal research funding at a news conference in Fredericton on Monday.
“Our government is giving a hand up to Canadians with housing needs and is helping to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty,” he said.
“We are pleased to partner with Youth in Transition Inc.
“Through partnerships like this one, we are helping develop and deliver programs for vulnerable Canadians.”
The funding came from the federal government’s $134.8 million two-year Homelessness Partnering Strategy.
In 2008 Ottawa promised to spend $1.9 billion fighting homelessness over five years.
The funding announcement was made at Chrysalis House in Fredericton, which provides a place to stay for young women who are homeless and is operated by Youth in Transition Inc.
“We are very pleased to receive funding from the government of Canada to be able to do such meaningful research in the area of a needs assessment for homeless and at-risk male youth,” said Youth in Transition Inc. executive director Julie Gallant Daigle.
“Unfortunately, there are currently no safe, stable and/or supportive housing options and limited other services for this group.”
Gallant Daigle said the research will determine the right way to help homeless young men.
“A lot of people have suggested we just build something,” she said.
“The concern that myself and the board of directors and some other community members have is that one size does not fit all.”
“We know that males and females are not the same.”
The research will find out if homeless young men need a house, a shelter or a drop-in centre, she said.
“We’re really excited to see what the end result will be,” said Gallant Daigle.
“It will be led by the youth which I think is extremely exciting, to engage them in the process and eventually come up with, hopefully, some answers.”http://www.telegraphjournal.com/tjonline/thedailygleaner/10009120-266/research-homeless-youth-fredericton.html.csp