Finding kids in crisis, the Outreach Team builds trusting relationships with street youth by meeting them where they are and by being a consistent, supportive presence in their lives. Travelling on foot, they offer food, counselling, minor medical attention and friendship.
Street life is brutally dangerous for vulnerable youth, and when they find kids in crisis, the team is trained to connect them with psychiatrists, medical professionals and social workers, or to bring them to our Crisis Program for safety and support.
Many young people age out of the foster care system at 19 with nowhere to go. Many also run away from home thinking, “it can’t get any worse.” All too soon they learn it can. The Outreach Team makes sure kids know they aren’t alone and that there are trustworthy people who want to help.
Combined with these traumas and often because of them, is the prevalence of mental illness amongst our youth. A wide range of mental illnesses, ranging from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to bi-polar disorder to drug-induced psychosis, plague our youth in growing numbers and are often left untreated with devastating impacts. In addition to mental illness, our young people also struggle with addiction and substance abuse. Homeless young people often use drugs and alcohol as a way to "numb" the pain they experience in their lives.
The young people who come to Covenant House Vancouver face many obstacles to achieving independence. The majority of street youth have experienced physical, sexual and or emotional abuse, often at the hands of the adults responsible for taking care of them. Likewise, Vancouver's downtown streets can be dangerous. Sexual exploitation, drug abuse, poverty and illness are commonplace on the streets and many of our youth are re-victimized there, having fled one unsafe situation only to find their circumstances often worse.
Covenant House Vancouver exists for those young people for whom there is often no one else - young people who either have willingly fled physical, emotional and/or sexual abuse or those who have been forced from their homes. We understand that life changes are challenging and do everything in our power to ensure that young people succeed at whatever plan they have chosen for themselves. As long as genuine effort is demonstrated, so is our commitment.