Once someone has turned to the streets, there are more hurdles than ever to find safe, stable housing. These are just a few:
- Homeless youth often need help to secure government ID and a regular income, either through government assistance or employment.
- Young people suffering from mental illnesses struggle to find roommates, or to make a good impression on a landlord.
- A landlord can refuse to rent to someone who has no former rental references.
- Street youth who try to start out on their own in cheap, unsafe hotels may be robbed or otherwise victimized and end up back on the street, more lost than before.
Full-time Housing Support Workers help youth find and hold on to safe and affordable housing
The kids who come to us are all alone in the world, through no fault of their own. We believe that all young people have the right to be mentored into adulthood by loving and caring adults.
Our staff provides a continuum of care to help young people transition to independent living by supporting them in a variety of ways.
Our Housing Support Workers teach youth to find appropriate accommodation options. We help them to search the newspapers and online, go with them to look at accommodations and help them weigh the pros and cons of a place.
Through our networks, we can introduce young people to landlords, liaise with other service providers and housing registries, and help them get the basics they need for a successful housing search—things like a bus pass, clean clothing and reference lists.
Getting Set Up
Moving day is a big transition for anyone, but for young people who have been living on the street, it can be all the more daunting. We help them move in and, thanks to people's generous donations, we provide them with start-up kits, food bags and furniture.
We are there to support them, celebrate with them and generally help them set up and feel good about their new home.
After someone has found a good home, we help them hold on to it. Through in-home visits, we can check in to make sure everything is working out.
We help them learn to be responsible tenants and liaise with their landlord if they need help. Our Housing Support Workers can also support and refer young people with addictions and behaviour management issues.
Specialized Support and Life Skills
Can you imagine trying to learn how to budget, cook meals and generally take care of yourself if no one had helped you? These young people don't have families to ask for help. At Covenant House, we teach them basic life skills, including how to:
- Make financial arrangements (dealing appropriately with government agencies and banks)
- Plan meals and grocery shop on a budget
- Prepare healthy meals and store food safely
- Organize transportation and plan their route to and from work
- Advocate for themselves with their landlord by understanding British Columbia's Residential Tenancy Act