What is it?
Covenant House was founded in 1972 with the mission to help homeless kids escape the streets. Today they are the largest privately funded charity in the Americas whom provide loving care and vital services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked, and exploited youth. Not only does the Covenant House provide a roof for the homeless youth, but also assists them getting back on their feet. Statistics show that 1 in 45 children are homeless. Fortunately, the Covenant House has helped over 50,000 at-risk and homeless kids in 21 cities in the United States, Canada, and Central America.
Why is this organization important to us?
Each year in the U.S. alone, as many as 2 million youth experience a period of homelessness, and every year more than 5,000 of these young people lose their lives to the streets. Their hope and promise are lost forever unless they find someone – like Covenant House – to love and care for them.
Imagine walking in the footsteps of a kid who has run away from home to escape years of physical abuse, a dangerous human trafficking network, the chaos of life with a drug-addicted parent, or a house overflowing with rage. Homeless youth are our future. We need to help.
There are correlations between homelessness, healthcare, and medicine. Please review the following statistics on how homelessness effects youth. For more information please review the resources below:
- Homelessness is linked to poor physical health for children including low birth weight, malnutrition, ear infections, exposure to environmental toxins, and chronic illness (e.g. asthma).
- Homeless children also are less likely to have adequate access to medical and dental care
- 36% of children have dental problems according to homeless families surveyed.
- Many runaway youth engage in sexually risky behaviors (sometimes for their own survival), which places them at risk of HIV, other STDs, and unintended pregnancies. Also, emerging research has shown that GLBT homeless youth are 7 times more likely to be victims of violent crime.
- Have high rates of acute and chronic illnesses. In addition, they suffer from emotional or behavioral problems that interfere with learning at almost three times the rate of other children.
- Homeless children between 6 and 17 years struggle with high rates of mental health problems. For example, 47% have problems such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, compared to 18% of other school-age children.
Children experiencing homelessness compared to non- homeless children are sick four times more often than other children. They have:
- Four times as many respiratory infections.
- Twice as many ear infections.
- Five times more gastrointestinal problems.
- Four times more likely to have asthma.
- Go hungry at twice the rate of other children. Hunger has negative effects on the physical, social, emotional and cognitive development of children.
- Have high rates of obesity due to nutritional deficiencies.
- Three times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared to non-homeless children.
How can you help?
The Student Osteopathic Medical Association (SOMA) and the Covenant House are joining forces to help the homelessness youth.During September 1st - December 1st 2015 SOMA will be hosting a second annual national Covenant House Drive. The Pre-Soma and Soma Chapter who donate the most items to the Covenant House by December 1st 2015 will be nationally recognized.
Christopher and his 5 siblings shuffled in and out of homeless shelter with his parents, who suffered from drug addictions. He had to quit school in 9th grade to make money on the streets. Covenant House helped him get his GED, and he is now pursuing a Bachelor’s in Social Work.
Rita was 19 when her mother died and she was evicted from her home. She was too old for Child Protective Services and too young for Adult Protective Services. With the help of the Covenant House, Rita is now pursuing a college education.