[infographic] Top 10 reasons homeless youth struggle to find employment

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Top 10 Reasons Homeless Youth Struggle to Find Employment

For homeless youth who often have no phone, permanent address, appropriate clothing or resumes, job hunting can prove frustrating and futile. Many homeless youth have no experience or role models to help them navigate the workplace or meet the demands of time management and structure.

Covenant House (2013) Barriers to Employment for Homeless Youth, Top 10 Reasons why homeless youth struggle to get jobs

Limited education

  • a high proportion of youth have breaks in their education

No stable address

  • employers need addresses to process payroll, collect personal information and establish emergency contacts

Lost ID

  • it is hard to maintain your belongings when homeless
  • often, personal ID is lost or stolen on the street
  • legal name and ID may not match with gender expression or chosen name

Broken family

  • many people get their first job through family connections
  • without the benefit of networking amongst family, friends and community to secure employment, many homeless youth have only themselves to rely on

Emotional stability

  • young people have often experienced traumatic events and great losses in their lives before arriving at shelters


  • transportation to interviews costs money
  • homeless youth are more concerned with finding food and shelter

Lack of resources

  • homeless youth tend to have little-to-no appropriate clothing for job searching
  • they have less access to facilities to maintain their hygiene
  • they are often unable to get a good night's sleep

Limited computer and phone access

  • most employers want to connect via email, telephone and social networks
  • access to a computer, printer and phone are vital for resume writing and job searching

Challenging market

  • due to changes in the economy over the last few years, youth unemployment is at 14.7% - over twice the overall unemployment rate
  • youth are at an even greater disadvantage as they compete with experienced and educated adults for entry-level positions
  • it can be especially difficult for LGBTQ2S youth who are homeless, due to homophobia, transphobia, racism

Lack of hope

  • homeless youth have been let down, heartbroken and disappointed by many of the adults in their lives
  • this creates a sense of hopelessness in youth
  • without the support and nurturing of caring adults, they find it hard to believe that life can be more rewarding

Covenant House (2013). Barriers to Employment for Homeless Youth. Top 10 reasons why homeless youth struggle to get jobs.


LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada Infographic Links

Download Complete set of Infographics

LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada

Youth Homelessness Research Findings

Trans and Non-Binary Youth Accessing Shelters

LGBTQ2S Safe, Inclusive and Affirming Shelter Spaces

LGBTQ2S Barriers to Employment and Training

» Top 10 Reasons Homeless Youth Struggle to Find Employment

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Our Fostering an Inclusive Shelter Environment for LGBTQ2S Youth curriculum and infographics were developed in collaboration with Dr. Alex Abramovich and A Way Home, a national coalition dedicated to preventing, reducing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. Development of this new resource has been generously supported by TD Bank and The City of Toronto.