Comassion in Action

Finding Safety Against All Odds #WATWB

orange county, california, aerial view

The city can be a large and scary place when you’re alone and on your own.

For some, human trafficking is something that happens somewhere else, but it’s thriving in the US. Some victims are forced to work as agriculture laborers, others must braid hair or paint nails. But many work the sex trade, and the pimps entrap young runaways of both genders to satisfy the prurient tastes of indiscriminate men. I see young people on the streets of my own city that I fear could fall prey to these sharks. Thank goodness for places like Covenant House.

cold city, office buildings, snowy urban landscape

What a cold place to be without a place to sleep.

According to its website, Covenant House gives shelter to homeless kids and responds to their most pressing needs. Last year alone, more than 55,000 homeless kids got help in Covenant House programs. Just under 28,000 kids were helped in their crisis shelters, long-term residential programs, the Mother/Child program and  Community Service Centers located in neighborhoods across the United States, Central America, and Canada. More than 28,000 were helped through Street Outreach Programs, where staff and volunteers search in vans and on foot for kids in desperate need.

suburbia

Youth from the suburbs often escape abuse to find anonymity and shelter in the cities.

LGBTQ youth are more likely to be thrown out of their homes by their families and often have fewer options, resulting in life on the streets. When the shelters are full, and they have no place to stay, they easily fall prey to the sex predators looking for just such teens. It is critical to this group to have safe places to stay to avoid the downward spiral of the sex trade.  You can read Covenant House’s paper on Homelessness Survival Sex and Human Trafficking.

office buildings at night

At night, the city is even more cold and scary.

I was recently approached downtown by a young girl looking for a local shelter. She looked LGBTQ, which means most shelters won’t take her or aren’t safe for her. I gave her the directions that she requested, but her plight haunted me. I wish we had a place like Covenant House in the city where I live. Covenant House has facilities in 30 cities throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America. They are helping to get teens back on their feet. Afterward, I looked for a place in Denver where I could have referred her and found Urban Peaks.

foggy city

It still looks cold, even though the snow is gone.

Can you believe that almost 40% of the homeless in the United States are under 18? It’s heartbreaking, but we can help these people help the nameless youth who need help. There are ways that you can get involved or can donate. If you live in one of Covenant House’s 30 cities, you can get the word out to those who need their services. If you aren’t in one of their cities, see if you can promote a similar organization in your own city. There are homeless youth in all cities, and they all need our help.

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Sponsored by:

Belinda Witzenhausen

Lynn Hallbrooks

Simon Falk

Sylvia McGrath

Damyanti Biswas

15 replies »

    • Not all of the 40% are run-away teens. There are many who are homeless because their parents are, and they are with their parents. So the figure is a bit misleading. Nonetheless, a good many homeless youth are at risk of predation and in need of help.
      Covenant House is a start, but it isn’t enough.

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  1. My heart breaks every time when I read or hear about sex trafficking. I wish I could do something to prevent children falling prey to this trade. Great to read about Covenant House.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s one mind lowing statistic about the percentage of homeless youth in your city. Where I live women between the ages of 50 and 60 are the latest emerging group of homeless people. It’s startling to realise there is such need at home when we often look to help those overseas. Thanks for the post.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. There is such a need for safe places and services for those ensnared by human trafficking, but especially for our at-risk young people. Covenant House opened a place in my city, Chicago, just a couple months ago. At present it’s just offering day-time services and not overnight shelter, but it’s a start and we can hope they’re able to expand services.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s scary to know that so many young people are homeless, walking the streets and getting into harmful situations. I’m not a mother myself, but I couldn’t imagine throwing my child to the streets because of their sexuality or for any other reason. Aren’t we supposed to love our children and all people? Thanks for sharing the good news about Covenant House. Even though this has not reached Wisconsin, at least there are other cities in the U.S. and Canada that are trying to help these kids. Great story for this month’s #WATWB.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks. There isn’t a Covenant House in my city either. There is an organization that helps, though, and you could have a similar organization in Wisconsin, depending on the size of where you live. I never thought my home was special until my children began to bring their gay/trans friends over so that they could see a harmonious family where they were accepted, no judgment. I can’t imagine throwing my kids out on the streets either. But it happens. Many have. Went through the foster care system and dumped when they reached adulthood. It is all so very sad; it’s good to find something constructive to do.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’d like to think that this area is more accepting of the LGBT community, especially children. But…humanity is still working on bigotry and hatred, which is merely a fear of the unknown, something not understood. We have many wonderful agencies in this state that help people of all ages, so I would guess that there is something out there for children. Perhaps I need to do a little research…

        Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t know. We are a very liberal state – in places. The problem is here because of the conflict between parent and child more than the safety net. If the parent beats the teen , they may choose to leave. They don’t have to be LGBT, but those kids seem to meet more resistance in extended family. Since my last #WATWB also focused on homelessness, it could be that I see more of the need. I see it daily when I go to work….

          Liked by 1 person

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