Why We Exist
Within the Vancouver area, hundreds of teens are in need of a supportive home environment. Many youth are struggling to find safe, stable, substance-free places to stay. The breakdown in the home environment is due to many reasons, including addiction, abuse, mental illness and/or multi-generational poverty. Most of these youth have one or more parents who are deceased or are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. Lacking guidance in the home, a majority of these youth find themselves repeating these cycles from an early age.
Many teens, including a disproportionately high percentage of Aboriginal youth, have been removed from their families and placed in foster care or group homes where they are bounced around. Many group homes are institutional and peers are linked to the street life. The high cost of these services and the fact that many youth refuse to stay in government placements has led to initiatives which dispense funding to youth age 16+ to live independently. While this initiative has attempted to recognize the physical housing need, this funding fails to provide for the emotional and relational needs for belonging, guidance, and support. This has created situations in which vulnerable youth are being evicted from apartments, dropping out of school, leading to deeper entrenchment in street culture and further marginalization.
IHYM believes that together we can reach out to these youth at this critical stage of their lives. Through caring and mentoring, we can help them develop into the people they were meant to be. The cost of not doing this, both for these youth and for society, is far too high. We aim to shatter multi-generational cycles of poverty, addiction, abuse and dependency on welfare.