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Street Youth Distancing Chart Download as pdf PDF

The elements/dimensions of social exclusion/inclusion as applied to "squeegee" youth

Whether we regard social inclusion as a process, an outcome or both, there are five dimensions of social inclusion or 'spaces' in which social inclusion and exclusion occur.

Material deprivation; poverty/economic well beingHomeless or "under-housed" ("apt size of bathtub"); need our "spare change" to survive
Economic security/insecurityBarriers to welfare if under 18 (Bill 142) - forced out of school; no $$ for aspirations/dreams
Economic distance/ proximity (inequality/equality)Can't hold down a job when living on the street (clothes, hygiene) "if you can't spare a quarter for human life, you're in a different world than I'm in" (The Star)

Public spaceBarriers to earning $$ in public places - legislation to outlaw squeegeeing
Private spaceLittle to no privacy on street - issue of exposure to violence
Physical locationStreets, rooftops, parks, bridges, exposed to weather, squatting, couch-surfing, no stable place
Geographic proximity/distanceBeing "chased underground" into deviant subcultures (drugs, crime, prostitution)

Social proximity/distancePublic fear of aggressive youth - leading to police harassment; "treated like shit - hurt"
Emotional connectedness"Kicked out of house" - family abuse leads to streets
RecognitionNo official identification (Raven - fear of identification); outlawing their means of survival
SolidarityStreet youth hang out together for protection and mutual support

CapabilitiesCapable but little formal education, few job skills; resilient survivors - "above and beyond everything, they're still alive!
Developmental capacities, assets and liabilitiesIntelligent and motivated, but not supported and even unfairly excluded from education - "special exception" for collection of welfare while in school needed; "You can't be a squeegee kid and go to school." - demonstrated by success of SWYM program
Valued social role/statusCriminalized for trying to earn money to survive; "should just get a job"
Productive role"Inventive" action for earning money delegitimated

Participation, empowerment (political)
Participation"Negotiate, don't legislate"
Agency/freedomUnrepresented before decision-makers
Civic engagementEric involved in advocating for saving SWYM program the next year
Empowerment/power"They (the City Councillors) should work with us"

(Adapted from Laidlaw Foundation, Oct. 2001)
© Social Planning Network of Ontario