HomeAsia-Pacific Social Science Reviewvol. 10 no. 1 (2010)

Living in (or Leaving) the Streets: Why Street Youth Choose the Streets Despite Opportunities in Shelters

Carmelo L. Martinez

Discipline: Social Science



The study looks at the different factors that make street youth decide whether to leave the streets and stay in shelters or to continue to choose life in the streets, despite opportunities provided them in shelters. Qualitative methods primarily, focused group discussions (FGD), in-depth interviews and indigenous methods were employed. Participants were street youth from Metro Manila ages 11 to 18 who have tried the life inside the shelter. Results show that the important factors that make street youth leave shelters and return to the streets are: (1) relationships; (2) boredom; and, (3) loss of their sense of freedom and control; while the underlying factors that keep them in shelters are: (1) fulfillment of dreams; (2) determination; (3) welcoming and cordial environment; and (4) security and safety particularly in having their basic necessities met.