Specialized Facility Exemplifies the Governor’s Investments in High-Quality Supports and Services for Vulnerable Youth
Supporting Services to Provide Training and Counseling to Offer Bright Futures to 1,900 Youth Annually
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced the opening of Covenant House New York’s new $76 million facility that will provide housing and supportive services to youth who are experiencing homelessness and survivors of human trafficking. The new 80,000 square foot facility is the first purpose-built facility in the 50-year history of Covenant House serving young people in New York City. The facility features 1,500 square feet of outdoor space, six floors of residential shelter with up to 120 beds, and five floors of program space. The supportive programs include health and wellness services, workforce training, social case management, recreational activities, and advocacy and legal services. The facility will serve approximately 1,900 youth annually.
“Supportive housing and social services are critical to helping ensure all New Yorkers have access to the resources they need to lead successful and meaningful lives,” Governor Hochul said. “By supporting transformative projects like Covenant House New York’s new state-of-the-art facility, we are helping our most vulnerable get back on a path toward stability and opportunity.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Covenant House New York’s new facility will provide the most vulnerable New Yorkers with the support, safety and stability they need to lead fulfilling lives. Through support services like CovWorks, at-risk and homeless youth have opportunities to learn, grow and succeed. Addressing the root causes of youth homelessness are crucial to providing assistance, and New York State continues to combat this issue through stable housing and economic opportunity.”
The new Covenant House New York’s (CHNY) location was supported by a $2 million Empire State Development capital grant, recommended by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council, and a $2.5 million Congressionally Directed Spending appropriation under Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies (THUD) for Fiscal Year 2022. The project aligns with and reflects New York State’s efforts to identify and address root causes of homelessness and at-risk youth unemployment. These grants will also support the retention of CHNY’s 236 existing jobs and the creation of 25 new jobs.
Workforce training and educational programs are crucial to ensuring at-risk youth will have the opportunity to lead fulfilling lives in their community. CHNY’s CovWorksprogram provides enrolled youth with career and education services to advance academically and in the workforce. CovWorks offers High School Equivalency prep, job readiness training, and a workforce initiative known as Individual Placement and Support, which promotes employment opportunities for young adults. CovWorks also offers vocational training programs for careers in nursing assistance, security, cosmetology, and the culinary industry. CHNY partners with the local colleges and universities, including the City University of New York and State University of New York system, for its CovWorks program. In 2021, 497 youth interacted with CovWorks, with 405 receiving employment help and 215 receiving education assistance.
New York City Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Winston Fisher, Partner at Fisher Brothers, and Dr. Félix V. Matos Rodríguez, City University of New York Chancellor, said, “After 50 years, Covenant House is still a beacon of hope and opportunity, as well as a brighter future, for the young New Yorkers who need it most. Supportive housing and social services are vital to providing stability and the path to a better future for New York’s at-risk youth. Covenant House’s services offer the support system needed to help establish a track toward long-term success.”
As part of the FY 2023 Enacted Budget, Governor Hochul prioritized a statewide effort to address street homelessness and support New York’s most vulnerable. These initiatives include the establishment of the Safe Options Support (SOS) teams throughout New York City and in targeted regions throughout the state where street homelessness is most widespread and the use of public funds to implement initiatives that expand housing access and protect tenants from eviction. Furthermore, the Governor increased funding by $2 million for Runaway and Homeless Youth Programs to support the expansion of crisis and transitional living beds for vulnerable youth.
Senator Chuck Schumer said, “I am so proud to cut the ribbon today on Covenant House’s new flagship facility that will provide critical services to some of the most vulnerable New Yorkers. The work of serving homeless youth and survivors of human trafficking is so utterly urgent and necessary that I didn’t think twice about prioritizing Covenant House’s request for $2.5 million in Congressionally Directed Spending. Covenant House started at the grassroots 50 years ago – neighbors coming together to support neighbors – and I can think of no better or more inspiring example for New York as we write the next chapter of our history together.”
State Senator Brad Hoylman said, “Our children are our future. There is perhaps no better investment than ensuring all of our kids have a roof over their head and resources to heal from deeply traumatic experiences like human trafficking and homelessness. The Covenant House has long been a lifeline to countless young New Yorkers, and I am moved that Governor Hochul is dedicating $76 million to expand upon their mission.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “We know that taking a holistic approach to providing supportive services, including providing housing, education, and employment opportunities, when working with at-risk youth is critical to helping them lead fulfilling lives. These services not only help move our city’s youth out of homelessness, but can play a major factor in improving public safety. I applaud Governor Hochul for using innovative solutions, such as Covenant House, to ensure some of our city’s most vulnerable are not left behind.”
Council Member Erik Bottcher said, “I’ve never facility seen a facility like this before. It’s designed to be the kind of place you want to be, rather than a place you need to be. Combined with great programs and staff, this facility has the potential to transform countless lives.”
Covenant House Acting Executive Director Deirdre Cronin said, “Covenant House is so grateful for the continued support from Governor Hochul and all our partners at Empire State Development. Not only will this funding help provide essential food, shelter, medical attention and educational and workforce development. This kind of support shows also our young people that we believe in their promise and their futures. When our young people feel that support there is no goal they cannot achieve.”