February is Covenant House Month
TORONTO, Feb. 1, 2016 – February is Covenant House Month and our goal is to raise awareness of youth homelessness and much-needed funds to help as many as 250 youth who rely on us every day.
During the month, we’ll shine a light on the plight of homeless youth through media and advocacy efforts and the launch of a new, innovative fundraising event.
The needs of the youth we serve today are much more complex than they were 34 years ago when we first opened our doors.
A recent Covenant House youth survey showed that about 30 percent suffer from mental health issues, about 30 percent have been involved with child welfare and about 30 percent identify as LGBTQ. We also saw a 130 percent increase in the number of youth who have been sexually exploited and trafficked.
For the past several years, we have seen record-high numbers of youth staying with us longer. This is an indication that these young people are more stuck and need greater support to move forward. To respond to their needs, we have expanded and enhanced our programs to provide more housing and employment opportunities as well as more support for those with mental health issues and addictions, LGBTQ youth and those who have been trafficked.
To do all of this, we rely on donors for about 80 percent of our $22.8-million annual operating budget.
The highlight of Covenant House will be our first-ever Guts and Glory Corporate Challenge, an athletic team competition, is set for Feb. 24. Thirty corporate teams of six will compete in this ultimate boot camp at the Moss Park Armoury to $300,000. You can learn more at gutsandglory.ca
As well as marking our anniversary, February is traditionally the coldest month. At this time, homeless youth can be at greatest risk of the elements and predators who wait to exploit their desperation.
Since 1982, we have grown to be the largest agency for homeless youth in Canada and has offered our services to more than 90,000 youth.
Covenant House Month has been proclaimed by the City of Toronto and recognized by the Ontario government.
For more, contact:
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There are 10,000 homeless youth in Toronto each year
Homeless youth are forty times more likely to die than other youth
70% of homeless youth are fleeing homes with abuse and neglect