Our street outreach team are our on-the-ground team members who engage throughout the community. There are many youth throughout the city that need help from Covenant House but may not know about us. We often also encounter youth who might not be ready to leave their current situation to go somewhere new and unfamiliar. The core of street outreach is building trust and increasing awareness.
The outreach team spends 4 to 5 days each week travelling by van, on foot or public transit throughout Philadelphia engaging any and all young people they encounter. The main goal of each contact is to establish a relationship, identify any needs the individual may have, and empower them to refer someone else who needs help. If a youth shares something they need help with, the team will help them access the services they need, whether it is at Covenant House or another agency.
Because the aim of street outreach is to meet clients where they are, the outreach van is always stocked with food, drinks, hygiene products, blankets or sleeping bags, clothing and underwear, and hats and gloves in order to meet any immediate need a youth might have. 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 our youth and even those beyond our age range.
Prevention and Community Education
Our Street Outreach team routinely presents to schools, community groups, and other organizations to raise awareness about youth homelessness and the services that Covenant House can offer. All too often, youth who attend these presentations approach our street outreach team afterward and ask for materials or indicate that they “have a friend” who is homeless. These presentations are an effective way to spread the word about our services and to connect with youth who need our help.
Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition
The outreach team represents Covenant House as the chair of the Philadelphia Anti-Trafficking Coalition. The coalition is an affiliation of social service, government, and law enforcement agencies dedicated to combating the issue of human trafficking in the Philadelphia area. PATC was founded in 2005 and aims to create a network of agencies to coordinate an appropriate response for victims and make available a wide range of services.
Contrary to popular belief, human trafficking is rampant throughout the United States, including sex and labor trafficking of men, women and children, both foreign and domestic. Covenant House provides a network of safe places for youth who have been trafficked. Specifically, the outreach team works with domestic victims on the street to assist them with immediate needs and get them the long-term help they need to escape exploitation. The outreach team also conducts community blitzes, trainings, presentations and awareness events throughout the region. Visit patcoalition.org for more information, and check out our Anti-Trafficking information page.