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Increased Services for Young People
For this month’s Covenant House Vancouver #CHVCatchUp post, I have the honour of sharing the tour I had of the brand new building at 1280 Seymour Street. In this city, in this day and age, it was amazing to see new housing that will support young people experiencing homelessness in such a comprehensive way.
New Covenant House Building in Downtown Vancouver
“This building was purpose-built for young people, and we’re so excited to welcome them in,” Director Kristy Hayter told me as we stood in the new lobby space.
“What it’s going to mean is increased beds first of all, but also incredible services they’ve never had access to before. This includes a gym, recreation areas, art therapy in great spaces as well as education and life skills in a beautiful building that feels like home.”
The new building will help CHV increase their Crisis Program capacity to reduce turn-aways and offer sanctuary to more young people experiencing homelessness. Everything from the architecture to the art has a trauma-informed and accessible design.
About the Crisis Program
Along with safe, supported housing, young people staying in the Crisis Program receive food, clothing, and hygiene supplies. Youth receive employment and education supports, access to Registered Clinical Counsellors, and help to transition to independence when ready.
This building covers it all: Small touches like a simple bed light which youth requested so they could read in their own space without disturbing their roommate, to ensuite showers for privacy, to big elements like a gym for physical activity.
Comfortable, Open Spaces
Youth let CHV know how important it is to have space to unwind, find joy, and build connections with youth workers and friends.
The Covenant House Food Services Team currently prepares more than 1,740 meals a week for young people. With the new kitchen, they will be able to meet the ever-increasing needs of youth, efficiently. On every floor there are also kitchen nooks, with more amenities like coffee machines, water bottle filling stations.
Spaces like this help Youth Workers to connect with youth in a casual environment, helping them build trusting relationships over something as simple as a game of basketball.
Rooms for Education, Art, and Rest
Pursuing an education and learning new skills like budgeting, resume writing, and other general life skills requires the focus and quiet these spaces will provide. Creating art is also a powerful part of therapy. It helps youth express their feelings when they can’t find the words.
Thanks to donor support, Covenant House Vancouver will continue to provide relentless support, with absolutely respect and unconditional love, to young people experiencing homelessness or in crisis.
Since 1997, Covenant House Vancouver has been providing love and hope to youth experiencing homelessness. They are the premiere service provider of residential and outreach services for homeless and at-risk youth ages 16 to 24 in Vancouver. Follow Covenant House on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more info.