New to the streets or not…being warm and safe makes all the difference

Yesterday we did an intake for the Shelter with a 19 year old first timer.  He’s not your typical street kid but has nowhere to go after his girlfriend’s mother kicked him out for “not pulling his weight.” 

He was a little emotional because he had to leave behind his 2 month old son.  He spoke of his high hopes and wanting to get a job and back on his feet.  He said that he was glad to have found Covenant House, but was nervous about being in a shelter for the first time.  During the intake, he asked many questions about the other youth:  Would he have to share a bedroom?  What would they think of him?  Where are they all from? Etc, etc…  He finally finished the intake and we brought him into the house.  Almost immediately he was inundated with questions from other youth:  What’s your name?  Is this your first time?  Are you from Vancouver?  You could tell he was immediately accepted as they then started lightly razzing him. 

Yesterday we did an intake for the Shelter with a 19 year old first timer.  He’s not your typical street kid but has nowhere to go after his girlfriend’s mother kicked him out for “not pulling his weight.” 

He was a little emotional because he had to leave behind his 2 month old son.  He spoke of his high hopes and wanting to get a job and back on his feet.  He said that he was glad to have found Covenant House, but was nervous about being in a shelter for the first time.  During the intake, he asked many questions about the other youth:  Would he have to share a bedroom?  What would they think of him?  Where are they all from? Etc, etc…  He finally finished the intake and we brought him into the house.  Almost immediately he was inundated with questions from other youth:  What’s your name?  Is this your first time?  Are you from Vancouver?  You could tell he was immediately accepted as they then started lightly razzing him. 

The next time I saw him was about ten minutes later and he was playing chess.  The atmosphere of the house was good and you could tell he felt comfortable socialising with the other youth.  We do everything we can to minimize anxieties over staying here for the first time, but there is only so much that we can do—the rest is up to them.   It still amazes me when they all get along so well, considering that they all come from such different places in their lives.  With all the bravado of past lifestyles and sad painful stories many would expect the shelter atmosphere to be fairly sad at times or intimidating, and while this does happen from time to time, for the most part the vibe is positive and supportive.  Just having a full belly and a warm safe place to hang out and sleep makes a world of difference to all people, from the newest fresh face to the most street entrenched youth.  


Shelter Bed