We have a young couple who are both very new to Covenant House, having never stayed in shelters before. They had been “couch surfing” – sleeping at different friend’s houses, and were looking for a safer and more supportive living situation. Like most “first-timers” it has been a bit of a process trying to build a trusting relationship with them. It has proven difficult because they have not been very forthcoming or honest with us up to this point. At their intake they told staff they were just friends, but later it was discovered that they are a couple. When we tried to verify their identification the following day it turned out that they had given false names and had not been forthright about having bank accounts.
The first night, after getting them settled in their separate rooms, a youth worker spoke to the young man, who the youth worker noticed was holding back tears. Just after everyone had gone to bed the young man came back out into the hallway and asked to speak to his girlfriend as he was having second thoughts about staying at Covenant House. We tried our best to send the youth to bed with the idea that perhaps he could sleep on it and figure things out in the morning. Thankfully he decided to take our advice and sleep on it.
Both he and his girlfriend were out all day today, but neither one of them have been able to say exactly what they were doing all day. There was some suspicion of alcohol use. After a few conversations we decided to give them the benefit of the doubt. Just before the young man went to his room, he turned back approached his worker to asked if they could talk. He shared that he is really worried about a serious legal situation and said that he is scared that he may have to go to jail. After a good and lengthy conversation, the young man went off to bed, looking as though he had a huge weight lifted. Slowly but surely we are getting the real story of the real struggles that these youth are facing.