Australia Canada New Zealand Social Service United Kingdom United States

Street kids – Focusing On Homelessness and Living Below the Poverty Line

donating to help street kids
What is Streetism?

Many distinct words and terminology may be used in regular conversation. The terms “homeless children” and “homeless youth” are sometimes used synonymously, however, there are important distinctions between these groups.

Those kids who are homeless don’t always have to live outside. Too many people resort to sleeping on the floors of friends or strangers, or in makeshift shelters like hostels because they have nowhere else to go.

For instance, in 2018, Shelter, an organization that helps the homeless, projected that 9,500 children in the United Kingdom spent Christmas in a shelter or other temporary housing, frequently with one family sharing a room and using shared toilets and kitchens with people they didn’t know or trust.

However, not all homeless children are considered “street children.” They may spend the day working, playing, or hanging out on the streets, but they may return home to sleep at night.

We refer to children who are involved with the street as “street children” or “street-connected youngsters” because they:

  • Rely on the streets for support, either alone or with other children or family members; and
  • Whose daily lives and identities are inextricably intertwined with and shaped by the city’s streets, marketplaces, parks, bus stops, and railway terminals. Children who do not live or work on the streets but who frequently visit the streets with friends or family are included in this broader category.

That is, “street children” refers to any young person who must rely on the streets for any aspect of their daily lives, whether it is residence, employment, or social networks.

What is streetism?

You may have come across the phrase “streetism” in your study of youngsters living on the streets.

Living on the streets or being off the streets is what this modern concept of “streetism” refers to. Particularly in Anglophone Africa, it is frequently used to refer to youngsters living on the streets.

The question is why some kids have to make a living by working or living on the streets.

The answer is complicated; there are as many possible explanations as there are street children around the globe. Each and every kid has a fascinating backstory. Every person, every culture, and every nation has their own unique history with the streets.

Poverty, relocation due to natural disasters and conflicts, and family breakup all contribute to increases in the number of children living on the streets, although these reasons will change over time and between locations.

Although other elements also have a role, economic hardship is a big one. Social variables, such as domestic or community violence and abuse, might also play a role.

A child’s exposure to the street is exacerbated by factors such as discrimination, a lack of access to justice, and an absence of legal status (resulting, for example, from a lack of birth registration).

Dangers for Kids Living on the Streets

Every day, adults such as government officials and police, other youngsters, and even members of their own families cause harm to many children who have ties to the street.

The basic human rights of receiving an education and medical treatment are also violated. Begging and loitering may be illegal in their country, putting them in danger of arrest while they are only attempting to make ends meet.

Street children experience violence

Those who know there will be no family or legal protection to intervene or justice to be had are more likely to abuse children who are not registered, who do not have an adult who can speak for them, or who do not have adequate housing.

Children are a common target for robbery, assault, and other forms of violence, and this includes some instances when police enforcement or government employees are the perpetrators.

Street kids are abused

Children with links to the street are at risk of being sexually abused, coerced into a life of crime, trafficked, and forced to fend for themselves by begging, stealing, and other forms of street exploitation.

Gangs recruit street kids

Many children living on the streets find a “surrogate family” in a street gang, which may be a welcome refuge from the dangers of the outside world and a source of emotional and practical assistance.

However, these groups also often lead youngsters to engage in criminal behavior and drug abuse.

Street kids may become drug addicts

While not all children who live on the streets are addicted to drugs, some do turn to drugs as a way to deal with the stress of homelessness, abuse, neglect, illness, starvation, and social shame and prejudice.

Addiction can have lifelong effects, especially if it begins in adolescence when a person’s body and mind are still growing.

Street kids seem to have mental health difficulties

Many studies reveal that street children’s happiness is often poor, despite the fact that many of them exhibit great endurance in the face of unimaginable challenges.

Children with ties to the street experience higher rates of despair, anxiety, and trauma than the general population, which can lead to substance misuse and even suicide.

Children with ties to the streets may suffer emotionally from the stigma they confront and the isolation they experience. This might potentially be different depending on the nation.

Researchers in Nepal discovered that youngsters internalize strong negative perceptions of themselves, reflecting society’s opinion of them as delinquents, whereas a study of Moroccan street children portrayed them as “poetic” daydreamers surrounded but not corrupted by violence.

Children with a history of homelessness are often prosecuted for “status offenses” in many nations.

These offenses are technically not illegal but are seen as such because of the minor’s age. Under the loitering accusation, for instance, police can detain a youngster just for being in the street.

8 Charities for Street Children in Canada

Canadian Foodgrains Bank

Canadian Foodgrains Bank (Foodgrains Bank) has been active in the fight against world hunger since its founding in 1983.

Fifteen different churches and church-based organizations have joined forces to form Foodgrains Bank, an organization that works to alleviate hunger in underdeveloped nations by supplying both short-term aid in the form of emergency food supplies and more permanent solutions to the problem.

Donate Now

Citizens’ Foundation Canada

Donations make up a sizable portion of TCF’s budget. Schools, adult education, and teacher training are TCF’s three main activities since they all contribute to the foundation’s goal of improving education. The organization does not share the costs associated with its many initiatives.

Donate Now

Seva Food Bank

The Seva Food Bank is a charity with the mission of helping Vancouver’s poor through food distribution, nutrition education, and community-building initiatives. Their services are geared toward helping people and families who are in danger of experiencing hunger, homelessness, or poverty.

Donate Now

Meal Exchange

Meal Exchange is a student-led, national charity that has been working to provide access to healthy meals and ensure their long-term viability in communities throughout the country since 1993.

They do this by empowering children to speak up, fostering collaboration between schools, and inspiring novel strategies to expand access to healthy food in neighborhoods.

Donate Now

Quest Food Exchange

These Vancouver-based nonprofits collaborate with grocery stores, wholesalers, and distributors to donate food products that would have been thrown away. Then, their staff makes them available to people with few resources.

Donate Now

Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut Food Bank

One such group is the Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut Food Bank, which distributes food to those in need around the territory. Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is home to the Niqinik Nuatsivik Nunavut Food Bank.

The hunger problem in Iqaluit and the surrounding area inspired the creation of this organization in 2001. The mission of the organization is to help those in need by supplying them with healthy meals.

Donate Now

Inuvik Food Bank

The Inuvik Food Bank is a charitable organization serving the needs of low-income residents of Inuvik, Northwest Territories. To ensure that all those in need receive assistance, the Inuvik Food Bank collaborates with other groups in the area. People, corporations, and groups are all encouraged to provide food items.

Donate Now

Meals on Wheels Edmonton

Meals on Wheels Edmonton is a local organization that helps the elderly and the less needy by delivering hot meals directly to their homes.

Many customers have high praise for their innovative community engagement initiatives, including special events, joint partnerships, and volunteer opportunities, as well as their superb cuisine and beverages.

Donate Now


In spite of these obstacles, it is of the utmost importance to determine accurate numbers of children who are related to the street and the realities of their existence. In order to effectively develop their programs, organizations that assist children living on the street require precise data.

Donors want statistics in order to confirm that their money for areas such as health, education, and justice is reaching street children.

The Child Rights Convention and the particular guidelines it provides in UN General Comment 21 compel governments to collect reliable data on children living on the street so that they can commit the resources necessary to fulfill their duties to these children in accordance with the convention.

About the author

Circle Acts Team

United by a shared passion to make a difference, we're on a joyful mission: to spotlight the wonderful world of nonprofits, charities, and the incredible causes they champion.

Every article we craft is a labor of love, bursting with positivity and hope. We're firm believers in the magic of service and are constantly inspired by the countless unsung heroes working tirelessly for change. By donating our time and energy, we aspire to create ripples of awareness and inspire action. So, every time you read one of our articles, know it's penned with heaps of passion, a dash of joy, and a sprinkle of hope.

Cheers to making the world a brighter place, one story at a time!