Every Child Counts

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

By: Ashmar Mandou

Covenant House, the nation’s largest agency helping homeless youth, announced on Wednesday its plan to develop further services including an increase in shelter beds, street outreach, and additional opportunities for youth experiencing homeless in Chicago. “We as a city cannot thrive until each of our children has an opportunity for success. Having a safe place to call home is fundamental so that our children can be focused on their studies and their future, and not worried about where they will sleep at night,” said Mayor Emanuel.

Covenant House will work alongside the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS), service providers and community leaders to find an area for shelter space to best serve youth. After holding several meetings with Mayor Emanuel, Covenant House selected Chicago as its first expansion location in over 16 years, based on the City’s proposed plan to reduce homelessness, collaboration by local partners, and support by stakeholders. This summer, Covenant House will open a facility that will expand citywide shelter capacity by adding 20 beds. “At our programs in 27 cities across six countries, we see every night the difference a safe, warm bed means to our kids,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “A safe place to sleep literally means new life, transformation and hope. We are so grateful to the community leaders and especially our fellow service providers in Chicago who are on the front lines every night. Soon we will be standing side by side with them and together we’ll rescue more kids from the freezing cold, from the violence, and from the vile pimps and traffickers who prey on vulnerable homeless youth.”

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

According to Ryan, one if the organization’s principal goals in the coming weeks is to begin conducting street outreach ‘to better understand the population and their specific needs.’ Ryan also stated the location of the new site will be announced soon and will be determined by street outreach conducted to disclose areas where services will make the most impact on homeless youth. “The Mayor’s personal dedication to serving homeless and his involvement in bringing Covenant House to Chicago will help us reach the City’s most vulnerable youth,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “We welcome Covenant House to Chicago and look forward to a strong partnership with them as we work to end youth homelessness and improve outcomes for our children.”

In the course of the next months, the Emanuel Administration and DFSS will work with Covenant House to pinpoint a site to locate shelter space that will add shelter beds. Over 1,800 homeless youth nationwide sleep at Covenant House programs each night. The organization provides food, clothing, shelter, short and long-term housing, educational support, job training, and medical care. Established in 1972, Covenant House is the largest privately funded agency helping homeless children by providing 24/7 crisis care and ongoing support in 27 cities across six countries. If you would like to learn more about Covenant House, visit www.covenanthouse.org.

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