From March 20 through 23, 80 volunteers fanned out across Peterborough to conduct one-on-one interviews with the homeless to find out why they are living on the street or in shelters.
The report authors say there were two main reasons.
“Family Violence. Family breakdown,” said Lisa Smith of the United Way. “People are leaving their family unit, their home, because it’s safer to do so. The other thing we see is income. Even though people are employed or are on social assistance, they are not able to actually afford the housing in Peterborough.”
The survey also revealed 52 percent of the homeless were 25 years old and younger.
Special attention is being paid to these young people, as authorities suspect that unless they get help, they will become chronically homeless. A program called “A Way Home Peterborough” will bring together a number of services to offer assistance.
“They have social services,” said Dorothy Oliver with Peterborough City Social Services.
“They also have school boards, the CAS, Niishkawendedah; they’ve got different services around the table looking at youth response and reaction, get at things a little bit more ahead of time, and really the focus on that is to try and prevent youth from becoming chronically homeless people further on down the road” says Dorothy Olver with Peterborough City Social Services
The full report is available on the United Way of Peterborough and District United Way website.