Community Support Services

Our Community Support Services (CSS) offers youth who are not staying at Covenant House access to many of the same supports as our residents. Some of these youth are still living on the street, while others have already moved on to independence and just need a little extra help. CSS cares for youth on both ends of the independence spectrum, so youth range from highly stable to highly transient.

Every youth that comes into CSS is welcomed by a youth worker. Youth workers strive to connect with the youth and identify areas where they need support. Workers encourage the youth to keep regular appointments, so they can create a plan to work towards specific goals.

Helping kids on the street

For the youth at the beginning of their journey off the street, CSS operates as a drop-in centre where kids can get a meal, a shower and clean clothes. This is often the first point of contact with new youth coming to Covenant House and depending on their situation, our goal is often to try and move them into our Crisis Shelter.

Youth who have been homeless for longer periods of time are the hardest to reach. They have had very negative experiences with adults and they do not trust easily. It can take weeks, months or even years for some kids to start to believe that there are people who want to help them. Being available to them consistently, meeting their basic needs and offering support is critical to building trust.

I like the youth that take a long time to trust, because that’s when you get to the real person. They begin to trust that someone’s out there with them and they’re not in this journey alone. And then, you see the light in their eyes when they walk through the door.”
– Karen, CSS Manager

The journey to independence

For youth moving on to independent living, CSS offers housing support to assist them to find an apartment and even to help them negotiate with the landlord. Most of our youth struggle with the high cost of living, so we offer a food and clothing bank to help kids reduce their monthly expenses. Youth often seek our help for applying for post-secondary school and securing student loans.

Youth can also access counselling through our Community Support Services. This can include addiction counselling, relationship counselling or parenting advice. We have an onsite playroom so that young parents can access services and support.

All youth who visit CSS have access to our healthcare clinic and a volunteer nurse practitioner runs an after-hours clinic in CSS for youth who are unable to miss work or school.

Housing Support

When kids move to independence, we give them the assistance and guidance they need to find and keep their new housing. We do just what a supportive parent would do when setting their kid up away from home.
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Youth in Transition

When kids are experiencing a period of transition in their lives, they need extra support. Our innovative Youth in Transition program is designed to help kids in the community cope with a major change in their lives.
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Food & Clothing Bank

Hundreds of kids rely on our food and clothing bank every year. These are kids who are living independently, but struggling to cover all their expenses.
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Learn more about our work

Success stories

Cooking for her life

When Sophie’s mom was angry at the world, it was Sophie who would suffer. Her mom was overwhelmed and alone with six kids.
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Gift Catalogue

Helping Street Kids

Give a meaningful gift of food, shelter, job training and more through the Street Kids Gift Catalogue.
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