Young panhandler faces uphill battle for employment

Finding a job these days can be difficult, but trying to find a job without an address or phone number is nearly impossible.

Chantal Fox, 19, wants secure employment but says no phone and no address makes that hard

Fox, 19, has been panhandling for two years and says she wants a secure job. (CBC)

Finding a job these days can be difficult, but trying to find a job without an address or phone number is nearly impossible.

It’s a predicament Chantal Fox is all too familiar with.

Fox, 19, is from Saskatchewan. She dropped out of high school because she said, ‘“I decided to travel. I just wanted to see the world the way it is, not through books.”  

She has been panhandling for two years — and in Halifax for the past year. On average, she makes about $50 or $60 per day on the street. 

She said she wants something more secure.

“I'm really willing to do my work. When I'm willing to sit out here in the cold, or the rain or the scorching heat — that I'm willing to actually get out there and do my work to get anything done to get a job,” she said.

“I applied at the Scotia Square Mall, and a few Tim Hortons and for house cleaning [jobs].”

Some of the money Fox makes on the street is used to pay for calling cards to help with her job hunt.

“I don't have a phone to contact them all the time and they always say, 'Come back tomorrow,' or 'Call back tomorrow,' and it's usually someone else with a phone who gets the job,” she said.

Fox's story is familiar to Nova Scotia community outreach worker Russ Sanche in his work with other young people.

“If you can trust one person that's trustworthy and can be a positive influence, maybe that one person can direct you to [a place for] support. This girl, in my perspective, I don't know the whole story — she's going to need a home base,” he said.

In terms of the type of work Fox would like, she has some ideas.

“I think I would rather be a waitress. I like to meet people and I like to express myself and to do fast-paced work,” she said.

Fox said she thinks having more resources available for youth to help them secure employment could help.

She said she has used outreach programs throughout the city but those seem to focus on helping people “in the moment” and not necessarily on helping people change their lives for the better.

While it has been tough trying to find a job, and her attempts thus far have been unsuccessful, Fox said she’s not giving up on her goal.


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