Covenant House Vancouver opened on September 22, 1997, thanks to the help of donors who had been supporting Covenant House Toronto. The very first night we were full, opening with just 12 beds, and we’ve been providing relentless support to young people since that very first night.
Now, we are in our 25th year of providing care to young people experiencing homelessness, at-risk of homelessness, and those who have experienced human trafficking. We do so with the strength of over 130 volunteers and 50,000 donors behind us. We continue to augment our carefully designed Continuum of Care and improve upon our services and practices, driven by the ultimate goal shared by all Covenant House sites: We Must Keep Fighting to End Youth Homelessness.
Homelessness, and a lack of affordable housing, continue to be identified as major concerns by Vancouver residents. Over the last 25 years, we have seen an explosion in the number of young people presenting with serious concerns and needing complex care. And in recent years the opioid & housing crises and illicit drug toxicity deaths have impacted youth and staff greatly.
But despite increased challenges and thanks to the support of our donors, volunteers, and community CHV has continued to grow, adapt and work to meet the needs of young people. This summer we celebrated the opening of our new, 10-storey building. It was thoughtfully designed to meet the increasingly complex needs of youth, with spaces that will allow us to provide wrap-around supports that will lead to transformative healing and growth for years to come.
Throughout this year we will be sharing stories of young people, staff, donors, and volunteers. We will be looking back with gratitude and forward with hope as we know there is still more work to be done. We will be sharing ways you can take action and get involved in the fight to end youth homelessness.
Together, we have been a source of hope, love, and care for thousands of young people. Young people who have gone on to become mothers and fathers, teachers and nurses, friends and community members. Young people who received a kind word when it was most needed, a jacket when they were at their coldest, and a meal when they were at their hungriest. Young people who needed a helping hand for one night or many years. Any young person because every single life matters. And every single young person deserves absolute respect and unconditional love.
Thank you for standing with us and with young people for 25 years, and thank you for continuing to fight youth homelessness with us!