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Housing, poverty the top issues for young people, report finds

Nov 22 2011

People aged 15 to 24 think housing and poverty are the most important issues facing the capital region.

That is among the findings contained in the Victoria's Youth 2011 Vital Signs report, issued by the Victoria Foundation.

The youth report, in its third year, is similar to the foundation's main Vital Signs report. Both provide a snapshot of the region's livabilty and the well-being of residents.

The youth version has been published separately for the first time this year, one of a range of measures to help mark the foundation's 75th anniversary.

Youth housing/homelessness and poverty tied as the top issues of the 12 presented in the survey. Transportation and the need to give youth more of a voice in the community tied for second place.

Seventy-one per cent of the respondents favoured more student housing, 65 per cent wanted more affordable housing and 55 per cent wanted a higher minimum wage.

In the transportation category, 55 per cent called for more late-night bus service and 50 per cent for lower bus fares.

Victoria Foundation CEO Sandra Richardson said it makes sense to consult with youth.

"We know youth have valid opinions, good ideas and a concern for the future of their communities," she said in a statement. "We also know there are many decision-makers in the public, private and non-profit sectors who want to know how youth understand the world, and are willing to provide support and resources to make sure youth are heard."

The youth report is helpful in making funding decisions, Richardson said. The foundation supports a number of youth programs, including initiatives that help youth coming off the streets, keep young people in school, promote literacy and deal with substance abuse.

On the web: victoriafoundation.bc.ca/web/youthvitalsigns2011

jwbell@timescolonist.com

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