Staying Alive While Living the Life

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

By Sue-Ann MacDonald and Benjamin Roebuck  

Paperback $20.00

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
  • ISBN: 9781552669327
  • October 2018
  • 134 Pages
  • For sale worldwide

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  • 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


  • 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

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