Fatal fire raises concern about Hamilton’s homeless youth

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By Jody Porter, CBC News

‘There were horror stories about that place,’ advocate says of 249 Cannon Street

The death of a young man in a house fire on Cannon Street last week should raise alarm bells about the need for more supportive housing for homeless youth, advocates say.

At least a dozen young people were renting rooms or a space to sleep on the floor of the house before the Feb. 20 fire, according to Loretta Hill-Finamore, director of Good Shepherd Youth Services.

“There are horror stories about that place, and complaints were made,” Hill-Finamore said. “Accidents can happen, but that was not a safe place.”

Hill-Finamore said there are many other rooming houses in the city that take advantage of young people who are in dire need of shelter.

“Youth have such limited choices for housing, it’s disgusting,” she said.

At least two of the dozen young people who were living at 249 Cannon Street at the time of the fire are seeking help through Good Shepherd Youth Services, according to Christine Evans.

The lead mental health clinician for street youth said unstable or unsafe housing contributes to the myriad mental health concerns for young people.

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Article and Image Source:  CBC News

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