This Thursday I will be sleeping outside in downtown Vancouver in support of Covenant House. The temperature will drop to near-freezing and I’ll have a piece of cardboard and a sleeping bag as comfort. That’s about it although that’s more than some people have in this city. Ahead of my sleep out, I am collecting donations online to support my campaign for Covenant House and I am reaching out to ask for your support.
Covenant House Vancouver opened its doors in September of 1997 in response to a study that revealed that there were over 10,000 (now around 8,500) runaways in BC annually. The study also revealed that street youth were in desperate need of short-term transitional shelter and long-term supportive housing.
Covenant House Vancouver provides food, shelter, clothing and counselling to the estimated 700 (believed to be an undercount but no other number is deemed more reliable) street youth living in Vancouver at any given time. Most of the young people we help have fled abuse at home or have aged out of the foster care system. Last year, over 1,500 young people accessed Covenant House’s services.
Covenant House Statistics
- 39% of Covenant House’s youth present with a mental health diagnosis
- 70% have witnessed family violence
- 50% of Covenant House’s youth present with an addiction problem
- 95% of Covenant House’s youth report that Covenant House has helped them
- 75% of youth feel more confident about their future after staying at Covenant House
- Average length of stay has increased 83% in past five years (Covenant House knows that a young person’s success rate increases significantly with longer stays)
Covenant House Sleep Out
On November 21st, executives, public figures and well connected leaders in our community will sleep outside for one night in solidarity with those youth who may face many more cold, lonely nights until they find their way through the doors of Covenant House Vancouver. From Los Angeles to New York, Toronto to New Orleans and in other major cities across North America, participants will raise funds from their companies, colleagues, friends and family to support the life-changing work that is being done to help young people leave the streets and begin new lives. These leaders will draw the attention of the larger business community and our nation to the problem of homelessness among young people.