"When You're Homeless Your Friends Are Like Your Home": Street Involved Youth Friendship in Victoria, Canada




Werdal, Thayne Vernon

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This thesis explores street involved youth friendship in Victoria, Canada. The friendships of street involved youth—that is “young people who may or may not be homeless and spend some time in the social and economic world of ‘the street’” (Perkin 2009)—are regularly thought and talked about as being prone to deviant or risky behaviour, particularly in social scientific literature and by the mainstream media. I conducted semi-structured interviews with 11 street involved youth (ages 16 – 21) who talked about friendships as important relationships offering (among other things) help, protection, support, nurture and meaningful existences not available to them otherwise. Street youth friendships allow youth some escape and respite from damaging neoliberal political-economic policies in Victoria, Canada. In addition, street involved youth friendships bring into question dominant developmentalist discourses and assumptions as youth agentively and expertly negotiate their friendships in careful and nuanced ways.



Friendship, Anthropology, Street involved youth, Neoliberalism, Developmentalism, Homeless youth, Homelessness, Social Science, British Columbia