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MacDonald and Roebuck have written an excellent book on the causes and conditions of youth homelessness in Canada. A key contribution of this work is that they not only explore the challenges that young people are faced with in this situation, but the strengths, assets and resilience they bring when facing such adverse life circumstances. For those interested in youth homelessness and what to do about it, this is a must read. - Stephen Gaetz, Founder of the Canadian Observatory on Homelessness
In Staying Alive While Living the Life, Sue-Ann MacDonald and Benjamin Roebuck unpack the realities of living on the streets from the perspective of homeless youth. While much is written about at-risk youth, most literature on youth homelessness reduces their lives to flattened images with little room for the diverse, complex and individual nature of their experiences. Challenging the dominant youth-at-risk conversation by putting forward a framework of survival and resilience, MacDonald and Roebuck illustrate the ways that young people who experience homelessness demonstrate tremendous resilience when facing adversity, social exclusion and various forms of oppression.
Drawing on conversations with homeless youth, this book focuses both on the external constraints imposed on their lives as well as the ways young people understand their circumstances and their approaches to problem solving. The result is a nuanced analysis that puts human agency at its centre, allowing readers to explore the challenges young people face and the internal and external resources they draw upon when making decisions about their lives.