Studying youth homelessness in Prescott-Russell

lot of available resources for youth in ho- meless situations. That is why she is pro- moting the 211 number, where people in distress can talk to someone and get directed to the right agency or service depending on the issue at hand. Castonguay’s mandate is to collect infor- mation and data to learn how social wor- kers and police officers cope with teens not having a home, or a home that is not a safe place for them to go back to. By doing this research, they want to confirm that youth homelessness is not only an issue in Pres- cott-Russell, but that it needs its own set of procedures and tools so that both, police officers and social workers can provide ser- vices to youth in homeless situations. This will be an ongoing research that will reveal clues on how to deal with youth homeless- ness in Prescott-Russell. Out of her small office space onHawkes- bury’s Main Street, Densmoremanages over $200,000 in funds that are redistributed amongst organizations engaged in fighting poverty and empowering women, youth and the elderly. Saying Densmore runs a small teamwould be an understatement. But although she manages most of the day-to- day by herself, she’s supported by an active administration board andmany volunteers, such as Castonguay, to push the boundaries of her mandate beyond fundraising

Who you gonna call? 211! There’s a new number in town and United Way of Prescott Russell’s executive director, Jodie Dens- more, really wants the community to remember. By calling 211, citizens will get to talk to a real person that can direct them towards the right organizations or people, to help them deal with whatever situation they are in. Vulnerable people in our community now have allies that are just a phone call away. Also, 211 can act as a crisis hotline, meaning that in the event of a catastrophe or tragedy, citizens can call that number to report or get information on the situation at hand. In other words, if someone is trying to break into someone’s house, they need to call 911, but if they feel alone, deprived or vulnerable, they can call 211. Help is just a phone call away. 613-850-5744 La maison du store par Danny & Sandra Décor Stores • Douches • Céramique • Peinture

Concordia University resarcher Julien Castonguay, and executive director of United Way Prescott-Russell Jodie Densmore, are studying youth homelessness in Prescott- Russell. —photo Maxime Myre

some data fromall of the community groups that it supports, along with testimonies from social workers, police officers and volunteers throughout the community. The United Way discovered that some young people in Prescott-Russell are at risk of becoming homeless, were homeless or are homeless now. Getting into a fight with parents, having an alternative lifestyle or being in foster care can lead a youth to couch surf or live with boyfriends and girlfriends. “If you are 15, 16 or 17, you can’t access the services of a food bank because you need proof of address. Imagine the state of vulnerability these kids are in,” replied Densmore when asked why she chose youth homelessness as a cause. According to Densmore, there are not a


When the word homeless is heard, people first think of a lonely vagrant, in an alley, sleeping on cardboard boxes. But some- times, people can have apartments and even houses that are available but that they don’t consider a home. A house is a habitat, a home is somewhere you can reside and live safely. Jodie Densmore of UnitedWay Prescott- Russell, and Julien Castonguay, a researcher fromConcordia University, are currently stu- dying youth homelessness in our area. While it is not UnitedWay’s mandate to investigate social issues, the organisation does amass

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