Philadelphia's only shelter that exclusively serves homeless teens and young adults will feel a little more like home for its residents now.
Covenant House Pennsylvania, a 51-bed shelter for young adults ages 18 to 21 in Germantown, won IKEA's Life Improvement Challenge. IKEA Conshohocken took the last week to give the shelter's lounge and common room a makeover.
"There's love and care behind this," Rosalee Sanchez, an executive assistant at Covenant House, said this week as she stood in the newly furnished lounge. "It's a nice safe haven. It's comfort, it's warmth. It's a sign of, 'I care for you.'"
Covenant House's makeover is colorful, with new leather couches, wall furnishings including a bright yellow clock and a few paintings, bookshelves and tables and chairs. IKEA brought in some artificial plants to spruce up the lounge, located in the shelter's basement, too.
"It's friendly and inviting for the kids," Sanchez said.
NBC10 profiled several young people who stayed at Covenant House in Faces of Homeless Youth, an in-depth, multi-platform report on youth homelessness in Philadelphia published in 2015.
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The shelter helps roughly 500 young adults in an average year. Because of limited space, they're forced to turn away another 400.
Sanchez and Carl Hill, Covenant House's outreach coordinator, said making the place feel like home -- not a shelter -- is important to help the kids who stay there get back on their feet.
"We don't have to look like a youth shelter," Hill said. "This kind of is our way of showing them what you look at or what you think of with a shelter, we are not that. We are a community."