Youth Experience of Trying to Get off the Street: What has Helped and Hindered


  • Tracy L. Brown University of British Columbia
  • Norman E. Amundson University of British Columbia


Counsellor Education


This qualitative study involved 20 youth (18 male, 1 female, 1 transgender, ages 19–24) living in Vancouver, British Columbia, who reported 259 critical incidents of what helped or hindered their experiences as they tried to get off the street. What helped included (a) taking responsibility, (b) engaging in constructive activities, (c) friends and family sup-port, (d) changing drug and alcohol use, (e) support from professional organizations, (f) disillusionment with street life, (g) dreams and hope for a different future, (h) income assistance, and (i) leaving negative influences behind. What hindered included (a) drugs and alcohol; (b) emotional struggles; (c) lack of support; (d) enjoyment of homelessness; (e) limited formal education, life skills, and employment; and (f) income assistance dif-ficulties. The results are discussed in relation to implications and recommendations for practice, limitations, and future research.

Author Biographies

Tracy L. Brown, University of British Columbia

Tracy Brown has a master’s degree in counselling psychology. Her current research interests include youth who are homeless and trying to leave the street, and the impact drugs and alcohol and mental illness have on homeless youth.

Norman E. Amundson, University of British Columbia

Dr. Norman Amundson is a professor in Counselling Psychology, Faculty of Education at the University of British Columbia. He has published widely and has done a great deal of research using qualitative methods.




How to Cite

Brown, T. L., & Amundson, N. E. (2010). Youth Experience of Trying to Get off the Street: What has Helped and Hindered. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 44(2). Retrieved from



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