'The least interesting thing about the youth that we serve is that they're homeless,' Covenant House Illinois raises awareness for youth homelessness in Chicago

CHICAGO (WLS) -- With the holidays just around the corner, and a stay at home advisory in place, being a homeless youth is harder now more than ever. The Covenant House Illinois youth homeless shelter is hosting events up until Thanksgiving to raise awareness and funds for youth who are currently homeless.

"We like to say that the youth that the least interesting thing about the youth that we serve is that they're homeless," said Judith Coleman, Major Gifts officer at the youth homeless shelter.

Coleman said since the pandemic hit, the shelter's services have increased. Covenant House Illinois offers wrap around services for youth ages 18 to 24 year-old, currently housing 12 residents. On Tuesday, Two Fish Crab Shack donated one-hundred Marianos gift cards to the shelter to help with food expenses.

Coleman said they help youth that come from all walks of life, with dreams as big as anyone else's.

"What brought me here was gun violence, I lost my sister to gun violence and covenant house came to me with open arms here with what I had to deal with," said Freedom X, a 23-year-old who has been homeless for the last three months.

He said that he struggled with his mental health, like many homeless youth, saying that the resources provided by the shelter has helped him. He shared that his dream is to go back to his community and eventually become an Alderman.

To raise awareness of youth homelessness in Chicago, the Covenant House Illinois hosted a virtual sleep out event.

"Sleep in your balcony, sleep in your yard, sleep on your floor, in you don't want to go outside, sleep in your clothes sleep on the floor with no blanket. You know, just to see what that feels like just a little bit for one night," said Coleman.

Coleman said she hopes people remember those in need during the holiday season. On Thanksgiving, Two Fish Crab Shack will be delivering prepared dinners for youth receiving services or residing at Covenant House.
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