The youth that are served by Covenant House vary in the needs and events that brought them to seek shelter. For both Toronto and Vancouver, a majority of youth (as much as 70%) have fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or had been kicked out of their home. In more recent years there has been an increase “in the number of youth presenting with serious mental health and addictions issues”, including as many as half of the youth seen in Vancouver (Covenant House Vancouver website). There are also a high number of youth who have “aged out” of the foster care system and have no place to go. The agencies report that an estimated 30% of the young people they work with have been involved in some form of the sex trade and/or subjected to sexual exploitation.
Following the continuum of care model both Covenant House Toronto and Covenant House Vancouver provide a variety of different supports. These vary by location, but between the two sites include 24/7 crisis care, counselling, health care, education, employment training and assistance, transitional housing and support youth as they move from homelessness to independence. They work to build confidence and life-skills to increase each young person’s ability to achieve greater success.