The support we provide youth is only made possible by our donors and volunteers, and we are deeply grateful for the ongoing support. Your belief in the potential of our young people and your commitment to our mission allow us to provide the loving care and life changing programs that young people need and deserve.
The challenges faced by youth experiencing homelessness and trafficking today are increasingly complex and intensified greatly during the global COVID-19 pandemic. In the face of this challenge, Covenant HouseToronto staff shone brightly by ensuring our programs remained available to youth. We added specialized staff to work with young people using substances, a mental health counsellor to help youth resolve short-term issues and counselling staff to help youth build positive relationships with family and other key people in their lives.
Most importantly, we kept our doors open 24/7.
More young people entering the shelter system are staying much longer. This trend demonstrates that prevention and intervention programs, along with community housing programs must be a larger component of the work we do to reduce the number of young people entering homelessness.
In the past five years we:
- Designed a program to prevent young people from becoming homeless to be piloted with Toronto Schools
- Provided more housing options for young people, as well as more services focused on health and wel-being.
- Offered more post-secondary educational options to youth including bursaries and tuition opportunities
- Expanded awareness of the issue of sex trafficking amongst students and the general public
- Made strides in ensuring Covenant House is a safe and welcoming space for all, grounded in the tenets of equity, diversity and inclusion.
In the next five years we will:
- Build on best practices in homelessness and prevention, including important lessons learned during the adopting strong pandemic.
- Minimize the need for emergency response by adopting strong prevention and intervention adopting strong strategies.
- Continue to provide our staff with training to recognize trauma, understand the long-term impacts of trauma and the methods that reduce harm as youth seek stability and plan their futures.
- Continue the research that informs our understanding of how to best serve our youth.
- Expand our prevention program in schools across the city to include counselling and education programs.
- Remain committed to making homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring.