July 02, 2020

Do you know where you will be sleeping tonight? For many of us, the answer is simple. “Yes, in my bed”. But imagine what it might feel like to have to answer this question with “No”. This is the reality for a staggering number of Canadians, including 500 to 1,100 youth living on Vancouver’s streets any given night.

homeless youth

Canadian youth, specifically those aged 16 to 24, are confronted daily with immense challenges and often overwhelming adversity. Coupled with unavoidable physiological changes, they navigate a world of peer pressure, bullying, addiction, mental illness, and physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, often at the hands of trusted caregivers. Driven by fear and a lack of security, many escape to city streets with hopes of freedom and safety, only to find themselves re-victimized, alone, and scared.

Since opening its doors in 1997, Covenant House has provided a beacon of hope for Vancouver youth exposed to the elements. Outreach workers find them where they are, from alleyways to park benches, then plant a seed of trust by offering basic necessities and unconditional friendship. From there, with the support of over 130 volunteers and 50,000 donors, Covenant House encourages roots of hope by offering homeless youth a safe space. They are then given a chance to become part of a community that cares for them, invests in them, and ultimately supports them in transforming their lives.

Need Help

The impact of this incredible organization is beyond words. It is seen in the newfound smile of a youth given a second chance, in the glimmer of hope bursting from the eyes of a young person learning to trust again. It is also found in the dedicated efforts of staff, volunteers, and generous donors, year after year. In 2019, this communal effort produced inspiring results:

  • 130 youth found love and support at Covenant House every day
  • 306 youth found stable housing
  • 218 youth found and maintained employment
  • 105,000 meals were lovingly prepared and served to youth by [our] kitchen staff
  • 80% of youth said they feel more confident about their future
  • Now, more than ever, amidst a global health crisis and rising tensions, our homeless youth must not be forgotten. Let’s come together this summer, from wherever we are, to support Covenant House Vancouver’s vital programs and show our youth that they matter too.

    Who: Challenging all Individuals, families, and businesses
    What: Sleep Out: Home Edition
    Where: Virtual
    When: July 10th, 2020 from 8pm to 8am
    Why: To raise $100,000 for the Street Outreach Program

    End Homelessness

    What you can do to support the Sleep Out and ensure that youth know we care:

    • Become part of the Sleep Out movement by Registering to Sleep Out on July 10th or making a Donation.
    • Spread awareness about youth homelessness on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or join the global Sleep Out conversation using #CHSleepout.
    • Talk about youth homelessness with your family, friends, and neighbours, and encourage them to become part of the Sleep Out movement.
    • Support Kiley and the Back to Earth team in their fundraising efforts or drive by BTE’s storefront on the evening of July 10th to honk at team members who will be Sleeping Out behind the store. Kiley and her team are passionate about supporting youth (“They are our future!”) as well as Covenant House Vancouver, and are grateful for the chance to participate in their 5th annual Sleep Out event.

    If you’re registered to Sleep Out, make the night memorable:

    Be Thankful

    • Let your creative juices flow when deciding where to Sleep Out:
      • Blanket and couch cushion fort on your living room floor? Sleeping bags on your sundeck, back yard, or driveway? If you don’t have outdoor space, can you ask a neighbour if you can borrow theirs?
    • Treat yourself to some good snack food, but remember to spend a few moments before eating to give thanks and to consider all the other things in your life that you are grateful for.
    • Throughout the night, reflect on what it might feel like to be homeless. Maybe sit in meditation and mindfully be with those who are experiencing homelessness right now.
    • Reflect on the youth in your life. If you know a young person who is going through a difficult time, make a plan for reaching out to them.
    • Spread awareness by making a poster that advocates for our homeless youth and display it next to your sleeping bag or on the front window of your home.

    somebody Pray for Everyone

    Thank you for making a difference.

    Written By: Zoë Tomichich


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