I have officially surpassed the 50% mark towards my $5,000 goal for Covenant House! I sent out a couple of emails and followed up with a few folks and here I am jamming along – I am so excited!
On Wednesday I went for a tour of their facility to learn more about Covenant House. I had a good understanding of the basics of the program thanks to Life According to Steph’s post about her Sleep Out last year. There were a couple of things I learned while on the tour and because I love lists, here goes:
- CHOP Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has a staff that is dedicated to Covenant House including a Doctor, a Nurse Practitioner and a Health Educator. In addition Covenant House has a Behavioral Health Department with a Psychiatrist, a Clinical Coordinator and a Substance Abuse Counselor.
- The kitchen is full staffed and they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. If a resident has a job the kitchen packs them a lunch to take to work with them.
- Outreach – They have a dedicated team that drives around the streets of Philadelphia searching for anyone that could use their services. AMAZING. They drive around in a van fully stocked with food, drinks, hygiene products, blankets or sleeping bags, clothing and underwear, and hats and gloves in order to meet any immediate needs. In addition to being First Aid and CPR certified, the outreach team is very knowledgeable about other service providers throughout the region that can assist.
- Once residents find a job 75% of earned income must be deposited into a savings account and once a resident reaches $500 they are transitioned into Covenant House Rights of Passage, more of an apartment set up where the residents have to pay “rent” and cook and clean for themselves. Once they are ready to move out the “rent” is returned to be used as security deposit and rent to establish themselves.
- The City of Philadelphia appropriated $700,000 for youth homelessness and Covenant House Pennsylvania received $325,000 in 2017 which was allocated to opening 25 additional beds. This money allocated was a result of John A. Ducoff, Executive Director efforts of continually meeting with City Council to emphasize the need in the City and a one day art installation that took place last fall. On October 20th, in front of City Hall in Center City Philadelphia 250 life size cutouts were installed representing just a portion of the 546 young people who were turned away. I am sad I missed it but it looks haunting just from the pictures.
Overall I was impressed by the level of thought that went into the programs to direct the kids towards independence. The ultimate goal is to end the cycle of homelessness. Please consider donating.