Helping kids at risk

Helping kids at risk

SQUAT Basse-Ville, Saint-Roch, Quebec city

For many, the path to homelessness can start at an early age. Julie’s home life was troubled and she was exposed to violence early on.

She began displaying worrisome behavior such as sleeping in public places and developing unhealthy addictions. Consequently, the Centre jeunesse du Québec sought her out. Fortunately for Julie, she found the support she needed during this tumultuous time at Squat Basse-Ville.

Julie first discovered SQUAT Basse-Ville at age 12, when her mother brought her there in frustration at Julie’s increased behavioral problems which included skipping school. Throughout Julie’s teen years several risk factors for homelessness were present in her life, including violence in the home and parental neglect. Like many troubled youth, she felt unsupported. “If I had a problem or needed help I either got yelled at or hit”, explained Julie. She started running away, feeling safer away for her home. This exposed her to other behaviors and got her in trouble. Eventually she was placed under the care of Centre jeunesse de Québec. “Every chance I could I went back to Squat. They were the only ones I felt I could count on to support me, listen to me, and help me make the right decisions.”

SQUAT Basse-Ville offers shelter and short-term accommodation as well as support for teens in difficulty ages 12 to 17, whether they are experiencing high-conflict situations, family rupture or other factors that put them at risk of homelessness. “Our goal is to help them work through their conflicts, assist with any possible reconciliation with their family, as well as encourage their independence and self-confidence”, says Marie-Soleil Bruyère-Girard, assistance director and manager of Squat Basse-Ville’s residential services.

SQUAT Basse-Ville is the only organization in Quebec City that works with troubled teens.

“Ongoing support from the LÉGER FOUNDATION means a lot. Financially we couldn’t survive without it, and from an organizational perspective we also benefit from their professional expertise and knowledge,” says Marie-Soleil.

Julie just celebrated her 18th birthday and her only wish is to achieve a sense of safety and stability. “I really want to think about my future, but for now I know I just need to focus on taking things one day at a time.”

This article is from the winter 2017 edition of the HOPE FOR THE HOMELESS newsletter. To read the full version of the newsletter and discover all the documents published by the LÉGER FOUNDATION this year, visit the Publications section of our website.

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