How Covenant House remains a refuge during COVID-19

Elisa, Lead nurse at BensKids Health Centre

Youth who are experiencing homelessness now have another challenge to contend with: COVID-19.

Now more than ever, our youth are depending on our compassionate care. The Covenant House BensKids Health Centre has always been one of our most frequently used services. It remains an important place where youth can receive mental and physical health support even during COVID-19.

Elisa Simpson, the lead nurse at our BensKids Health Centre, says, “Covenant House remains open, and we are here for them. Everybody has risen to the occasion. Relationships aren’t being put on hold during this time.”

The leadership of the health care team is essential right now. Their expertise provides an added level of protection to youth and staff during these unprecedented times. On a daily basis, the team provides updates on best practices and medical guidance connected to the latest public health information. New protocols are in place. New sanitation measures are happening.

Every day, Elisa sees young people that are deeply concerned about the current circumstances. Issues like PTSD from earlier trauma and violence, and chronic health problems, are still primary worries for youth, because, “All the concerns they had before COVID-19 don’t go away. They’re made worse because of fear and the real health threat of the virus.”

The health care team is leading the way to make sure non-judgmental and holistic care is uninterrupted. Staff continue to nurture the connections critical to establishing trust and assuring youth that they are safe, cared for and not alone.

Elisa feels positive that we’ll get through this together: “Our youth are resilient. They have already handled so much in their lives, and this is another thing we will support them to rise above.”