Behind the Scenes at Covenant House Pennsylvania

Alethia Q. Li

Li, Alethia Q.1
Faculty / Advisor: Gluch, Joan I.1
Advisor/Community Preceptor: Porta, Aimee D.2, Renjilian, Christopher B.2
1University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, Department of Preventive and Restorative Sciences, Division of Community Oral Health
2Covenant House Pennsylvania, Clinic


Covenant House Pennsylvania offers housing and support services to homeless youth aged 18 to 21 throughout the Philadelphia metropolitan area. The Crisis Care provides no-barrier, safe, short-term housing to meet young people’s most urgent needs; while the longer-term transitional housing, Rights of Passage, assists those who are ready to move on to independent living. Covenant House provides a full range of services, including case management, on-site healthcare, counseling, continuing education and job readiness assistance and more. It is designed to be a safe and secure environment where the youth can escape the hardships of the street and build the resilience necessary to overcome barriers and achieve self-sufficiency and success.

Project Overview

Learn about the community and the social determinants of health and how they influence youth homelessness. Serve our community’s most vulnerable youth through a trauma-sensitive and strength-based approach. Educate the youth regarding physical and mental health while facing the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.


The student interns kept track of relevant COVID-19 updates concerning testing, recommendations for quarantine, congregate care settings, and homelessness services from the Philadelphia Department of Health press conferences. Surveys were designed and distributed to access residents’ concerns and needs. The interns also created health education materials and compiled health resources for use by staff and residents. The health education materials, which took the forms of pamphlets or flyers, addressed topics of general health (oral health, immunization), sexual health (PrEP, STIs, birth control), healthy relationships & parenting, and stress management (mindfulness, exercise). A resource guide was put together for dental care, vision care, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, substance use resources, physical activity, immigration/legal services, etc., as well as a COVID-19 wellness packet of resources that would be helpful for youth in quarantine.