Staying Alive While Living the Life

Adversity, Strength, and Resilience in the Lives of Homeless Youth

by Sue-Ann MacDonald and Benjamin Roebuck  

This book unpacks the realities of living on the streets from the perspective of homeless youth.

Shop direct

Are you a student?

  • October 2018
  • ISBN: 9781552669327
  • 212 pages
  • $20.00
  • For sale worldwide
  • Kindle November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781552669341
  • For sale worldwide
  • EPUB November 2018
  • ISBN: 9781552669334
  • $19.99
  • For sale worldwide

Or via your local bookstore
Shop Local

About the book

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.

Social Work


Sue-Ann MacDonald

Sue-Ann MacDonald is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the Université de Montréal.

Benjamin Roebuck

Benjamin Roebuck is a professor of victimology and public safety at Algonquin College


  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Becoming Homeless
  • Paradoxes of Street Life
  • Keeping Healthy, Managing Risk
  • Surviving and Keeping Safe
  • Evolving Roles and Identities
  • Navigating Obstacles and Negotiating with Service Providers
  • Positive Adaptation in Adversity
  • Understanding the Experiences of Homeless Youth Differently
  • Notes
  • References
  • Index


Don’t know your password? We can help you reset it.

Are you a student?

Answer a few questions to get a special discount code only available to students.

Your Cart

There is nothing in your cart. Go find some books!