COVID-19 has heightened and exposed the existing vulnerabilities facing our young people every day. Statistically, we know the youth in our care are more likely to experience serious health symptoms—many struggle with underlying conditions like diabetes and high blood pressure. Others are at higher risk due to factors like malnourishment, compromised immune systems, and pregnancy. They are scared, understandably.
As a Crisis Care Center providing critical 24/7 care to homeless youth in our community, we are on the front lines of this pandemic. We are committed to keeping our doors open to provide safety, shelter, and support to every young person who comes to us in need.
In times of crisis—as we learned in the traumatic weeks and months following Katrina—there is an inevitable dramatic rise in aberrant behavior: child abuse, sexual and physical assault, street and domestic violence, alcohol and drug abuse, human trafficking, abandonment, and suicide.
In November, Covenant House was caring for 162 youth & children every night—the most in our history. Now, that number has grown to an average of over 200 young people. As the pandemic continues to accelerate, we expect our numbers to grow to 250 youth & children per night.
As always, Covenant House is working overtime to respond to this crisis. Here are just a few of the actions we have already taken to safeguard our youth and staff:
- We are closely monitoring the health of everyone on our campus, including taking the temperature of all residents and staff daily.
- We’ve set aside quarantine and isolation space in the event a youth manifests COVID-19 symptoms.
- We’re regularly disinfecting and cleaning frequently-used common areas, as well as distributing cleaning materials and hand sanitizer.
- We have given masks to residents and staff and asked for them to be worn at all times.
We are firmly committed to doing everything in our power to protect the health and safety of our youth and staff. We promise to keep you updated on our evolving needs as the pandemic enfolds. As always, we are confident in God’s grace, grateful for the hard work and support of our dedicated staff and generous supporters, and resolved to keep lifting one another up in prayer.
With much love,