Happy New Year & Thank You From Covenant House Vancouver

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The #CHVCatchUp is a monthly series featuring the latest updates and news from Covenant House Vancouver (“CHV”). Miss604 is proud to be the Official Blog Partner of CHV. This month’s post has been written by Jason Bosher.

Covenant House New Year Thank You Post

Thank You From Covenant House Vancouver

Covenant House Vancouver hopes that you had time to relax and enjoy yourselves and spend time with loved ones, over the holidays.

The holidays can be a challenging time for vulnerable youth in the community. However, so many of you showed youth that they are seen and loved that your support made such a positive difference throughout 2023 and over the holidays. We would like to share a few ways that community support impacted the youth that Covenant House serves.

Anti-Human Trafficking Toolkit: Thanks to funding by Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE), Covenant House was able to create a toolkit, the first of its kind, that will supply service providers with a means to help reduce the risk of trafficking and the barriers that prevent support, in an effort to co-create a safer future.

Foundations program: Thanks to you, Covenant House was able to open a low-barrier program to support youth who have identified working on their substance use as a primary goal. This program aims to provide crucial support to youth who are grappling with the detrimental effects of the pandemic on their mental well-being and the escalating, unregulated drug toxicity crisis.

Covenant House Gym
Covenant House Gym – Photo submitted

Foundations is a program designed for youth who do not require medical detox and is a residential program based on harm reduction. Young people will focus on whole-person wellness and wraparound care supports that use a tailored, one-size-fits-one approach and will be guided by each young person’s individualized goals and case planning. Like our overall approach to care at Covenant House Vancouver, this helps ensure that precise supports and care are made available at the right time for youth, based on their journeys and specific needs.

Outreach and Drop-In Centre: Thanks to you, Covenant House was able to expand their Drop-In and Outreach services to 7 days a week. Vulnerable and homeless youth will have access to critical services through Covenant House’s Outreach teams meeting youth where they are at, and the Drop-In Centre, where youth can rest, do laundry, take a shower, receive a hot meal, and access support services.

Emergency Weather Beds: Thanks to you, in November of 2023, Covenant House Vancouver began providing emergency beds at 1280 Seymour Street, for 10 youth, age 16–24, whenever Extreme Weather Alerts are issued, typically for weather conditions that feel like 0°C. Additional staff have been hired to ensure that youth are safe and cared for.

Hope for the Holidays: Thanks to you, every December, Covenant House is able to run this campaign. Hope for the Holidays is an initiative that consists of the Caring Calendar and the Holiday Backpack Campaign. The Caring Calendar appears in November and is an opportunity for people to donate in a variety of ways. You can choose to donate food, like ice cream or pizza, gift cards, or experiences, so that youth have something special to look forward to. The backpacks are filled with a variety of much needed sundry items that were donated. This December, volunteers gathered to fill 350 backpacks that were then distributed to youth.

Christmas Day support: Thanks to you, on December 25th, Covenant House Vancouver served 152 youth across all programs and services. That included 75 youth who spent the day in Covenant House’s Drop-In Centre, and eight youth who accessed our Emergency Weather Bed initiative.

2023 Overall Impact: Thanks to you, Covenant House Vancouver was able to provide wraparound programs and services that supported each youth’s unique needs. Dylan’s story is an example of how your support can change the course of a youth’s life. Dylan went from living in an impoverished community, to finding his voice at Covenant House, to living independently.

Thanks to you, in 2023, Covenant House Vancouver:

  • Served 119,080 meals
  • Supported, on average, 124 youth, every day
  • Connected with 462 youth where they were at in the community
Covenant House Food Programs - Photo Submitted
Covenant House Food Programs – Photo Submitted

Another Exciting Year Ahead

Covenant House Vancouver is excited to share that renovations to their building on Pender Street are almost complete. The Pender Street building is home to Covenant House’s Rights of Passage program. Rights of Passage is a transitional housing program that prepares youth for their transitions to independent living.

The renovations will expand the program’s capacity from 25 to 44 beds. In addition, the renovations include the additions of a fitness room, a teaching kitchen, a large dining room/lounge, and soundproofed meeting spaces.

None of the amazing work that Covenant House Vancouver accomplishes would be possible without the support of its community’s policies, members, and organizations. Covenant House Vancouver would like to thank each and every one of you, and wishes you all the best for 2024.

Related: Read all of the Covenant House guest posts on Miss604 over the past year and beyond.

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