Toronto youth facing homelessness or sex trafficking find shelter and services at Covenant House Toronto

The reasons why young people walk through our doors are as varied and unique as the youth

Hunger. Unstable homes. Unsafe homes. Mental health challenges. A lack of affordable housing. New to Canada with no family or friends. Escaping trafficking.

Whatever the circumstance, each young person still arrives with their own unique hopes, dreams, and strengths. To help our community’s most vulnerable, at Covenant House every youth is greeted with kindness and provided with a warm meal, a safe place to stay and support during a time when they need a moment of care.

The challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking have always been complex, but a pandemic, a volatile economy, and a chronic lack of affordable housing have only intensified these challenges.

Right now, the need for shelter services and support for youth has never been greater.

Toronto is seeing an unprecedented demand for shelter beds, and at Covenant House, more and more young people are turning to us every day. We work hard to meet the needs of every young person that seeks our help, with the goal of not turning anyone away.

But housing in Toronto is increasingly unaffordable. Rents have soared, while the number of affordable housing units has dropped drastically.

And youth living on low wages with insufficient income supports are particularly vulnerable during
difficult economic times with high inflation rates, an increased cost of living, and skyrocketing food

Research indicates these realities lead to high levels of mental distress, substance use, and social isolation in youth experiencing homelessness or trafficking. Research has also shown that about one third of the current homeless population started in the system as youth1. Addressing homelessness challenges means starting at the beginning, and this story begins with our youth, and the need to support them to move to a brighter future.

It is a critical time for shelter services for youth.

And there has never been a more critical time for your help.

  1. City of Toronto. (2021) Street Needs Assessment 2021.