Vancouver – 19 & Homeless, a documentary that focuses on youth aging out of care will be premiering on OUTtv, Canada’s only and the world’s first LGBTQ+ television network on Saturday November 30th. The documentary gives rare and intimate access into the lives of a group of former foster youth, 3 of whom identify as LGBTQ+, as they age out of care and into a future where the odds are already stacked against them.
The film, which follows the group over the course of more than two years, highlights the inadequacies of the child welfare system, especially for LGBTQ+ youth, while showcasing remarkable non-profit organizations dedicated to helping alleviate some of the issues faced by the youth. During filming, Kelly lost his shelter bed 5 times for drinking, Dylan spent a summer sleeping on the beach, even though he was working full-time, and Kali battled addition while working to help others in the same situation. 19 & Homeless transforms statistics into spirited, engaging young people who are paying the price for a failing foster care system. People who simply want what we all want: a home.
A recent Canadian study titled, ‘Without a Home: The National Youth Homelessness Survey,’ found that youth who’ve spent time in care are nearly 200 times more likely to be homeless. A recent Covenant House Study shows 68% of youth who were trafficked or engaged in survival sex were homeless. These statistics only worsen in relation to the LGBTQ+ community, with twice as many trafficked for sex.
“Over the course of filming, I grew to realize that pretty well all social problems we have – crime, substance use, single-parenthood, drop-out rates, physical and mental health challenges are the downstream result of a broken child-welfare system,” said Maureen Palmer, the director behind 19 & Homeless. “It sounds naïve but if we solved our child-welfare crisis, we’d solve so much more.”
“As Canada’s only LGBTQ+ network and with our head office being based in British Columbia, we felt we had a social responsibility to shed light on what is happening within the community,” said Brad Danks, CEO of OUTtv. “19 & Homeless weaves together the stories of 8 individuals and showcases the very visible effects the aging out process has on these youth in a heartbreaking yet informative way. We sincerely hope that this film acts as a catalyst for change within the system.”
For more information on how people can help, subjects of the documentary have shared links on services that have offered them support and guidance at https://19andhomeless.ca/how-to-help/