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Covenant House

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Human Services

Mission: Covenant House provides a community of hope and healing to homeless young people in need of a safe haven. For kids who have run away from or been forced out of their family home or aged out of foster care, Covenant House provides a temporary home and a continuum of services designed to help them escape the streets forever and transition to a life with stable housing, a solid educational foundation, and sustained employment. . Founded in 1972, Covenant House has reached more than one million young people with immediate assistance and the support necessary to transition from a life on the streets to a life with a future.

Programs: Covenant House Crisis Centers provide safe housing, food, clothing, case management, counseling, medical care, and other support services. Covenant House Crisis Care programs operate 24-hours a day, 365 days a year.

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 1

I ended up on Covenant House’s mailing list after they bought my information from another charity. you have to call them to be removed from their mailing list, so I gave them a call to request that I be removed. The employee answering the phone (her name is Sandra) was extremely rude and ended up literally yelling at me because I couldn’t understand what she was saying. She told me I wasn’t on the mailing list, but they had gotten my information from the mailing list, and then screamed at me when I told her that didn’t make sense. She implied that i was incapable of understanding and continued to yell. When I finally got the clarity that Covenant House had bought my information from another mailing list (not their own), I thanked Sandra for her time; she could not get off the phone fast enough.

The fact that this charity bought my information to harass me for donations, coupled with the fact that I received the worst customer service of my life from calling them has led me to blacklist Covenant House from my donation lists.

4

Donor

Rating: 1

My problem with donating to Covenant House is that I am now bombarded with solicitations for additional funds. At least once a week, sometimes more often. Also with phone requests. I would have been fine with giving once or twice a year, but I am worn out with the constant demands for funds. Last week I got a big envelope with a bunch of unsolicited merchandise (Christmas cards and stickers). I have requested to be taken off their list as I am worn out by the "Gimme" letters. To date that request has not been honored. I cannot help but wonder if my donation has not been consumed by the costs of hitting me up for more money. My advice would be to avoid giving them money and getting on their list.

4 Steen

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House does amazing work. I cannot say enough about them - they are shelter kids in need in 31 cities across 6 countries every night and also provide food, shelter, clothing and counselling. What they are doing to help the youth homeless crisis in our country is vitally important.

56

Donor

Rating: 2

I think it is important for donors to know that, although this charity is extremely valuable, they will be put on a mailing list, not only for this organization, but countless others, as a result of the donation. Writing to request removal from these lists is not helpful. You must make a phone call to Covenant House making that specific request.
I wish I had been given the ability to opt out at the time of my donation.
My mailbox fills with envelops from Covenant House with unused return postage on it. What a poor use of funds - when I suspect not only mine, but many other donations are initially made online.
My rating of 2 stars in no way intended to reflect my opinion of the quality of service provided to the agency's target group. It is my hope that seeing the lower score, my concerns will be addressed.

Review from Guidestar

22 Dale18

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Covenant House is often the last buffer between homeless kids and fulfillment of their high at-risk status for predators. Covenant House's advocacy for homeless kids is most evident in their tremendous outreach program and they fill in the gap that families, schools and government agencies cannot begin to complete...the kid's emotional need for love and protection and a promise that though these kids may have nothing, they are indeed important and can rise above street life and its material limitations to become productive, faithful and conscientious members of society. They offer hope to those who have none.

30

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Instead of providing "three hots and a cot" like traditional shelters, Covenant House offers this wide array of services which help homeless kids become self-sufficient.

I think that's what sets them apart from so many organizations. They don't just provide a temporary fix to the situation... they invest a tremendous amount of time in each young person's life so they transform into successful adults. There is job training and placement, life skills classes, independent living coaches and so much more. But most importantly, Covenant House's loving staff is ready to step in and be the family that most of these kids never had.

Previous Stories
26

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

What people don't realize is that Covenant House welcomes kids who truly have no other place on earth to go. These are kids who runaway from abuse by the very people who should be loving them. They runaway from traffickers and pimps. And sometimes they run away from the unavoidable circumstances of having to survive alone on the streets.

From the leadership of Kevin Ryan down to the receptionist who greets young people when they take that courageous first step through the doors of Covenant House, this organization is wholeheartedly committee to saving lives.

God bless everyone who works at Covenant House and God bless the young people who find solace there.

16

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In the past I've attended their "Deck The Halls" Event. I helped decorate the shelter s well as wrap Xmas gifts donated to the residents. I'm looking forward to doing it again this year as I enjoyed volunteering their. The kids seem to enjoy the atmosphere there and that's something that I can support!

19

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently saw this charity featured on Good Morning America. The story focused on a young girl named Nigeria, and truly inspired me to want to help homeless youth. I know I'll be supporting these folks for a VERY long time. - Travis

17

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been donating to Covenant House for about 2 years after a friend of mine participated in one of their sleepouts. Since then he's continued to volunteer and talk about how worthy of a cause they are to support. I've heard a few success stories, and the resources are definitely going to the right places. Hope they can keep it up.

11

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Covenant House is such an inspirational program. I was able to sleep out in the past with friends in order to support the many youth who receive support from Covenant House. It was a great learning experience and I look forward to participating and bringing more friends with me in future.

9 ElfsMom

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House continues to impress me with its tremendous commitment to saving kids and helping them realize their full potential.

Previous Stories
13

Donor

Rating: 5

Like the song says, "Children are our future" but far too many children are in horrible circumstances with no hope for a productive future. Covenant House people work miracles with young people who are trying to better their lives. If they need education, they get that. If job search help is needed, they get that. If hungry, they are fed. If homeless, they are sheltered. My favorite charity for changing our world.

Review from Guidestar

11

Donor

Rating: 5

For two years I have participated in their Broadway Sleep Out and volunteered. I've met the kids whose lives have been forever impacted by the good Covenant House does, seen the pride the staff takes in their facilities, and directed homeless kids to a warm meal and the help they need. I wholeheartedly endorse the vital work they do here!

17

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Covenant House is truly an inspirational organization. I suggested that my younger Cousin after a major falling out with my Aunt. Covenant House took him right him and supplied him with food,clothing, and shelter. They've even helped him continue his education, maintain a job, and taught him how to save money for his very own apartment.

The change in my Cousin's behavior and the impact that Covenant House has had on him may have saved his life. He's raved about the staff and how it's easy to tell that they truly care about the residents. For the first time I feel that he's respecting other people, and sincerely trying to maximize his potential. Also, he took the first step and mended his relationship with my Aunt :-) .

I've seen first hand how Covenant House can help homeless youth, and troubled teens in general. I thank them for their effort and dedication, and will continue to support them moving forward.

17

Volunteer

Rating: 5

So I volunteer at Covenant House. I'm a active duty military member that has served over +10 years. I've two degrees. I'm not an idiot. Copy all, on the salaries...thought however. If this non-profit has survived as long as it has, do you want to pay a good leader to stay there? Or should they be selfless and work modestly? I dunno. That's above my pay grade but I'd be willing to hear both sides of the argument a bit more.

I have a comment on those complaining about all the stuff the Covenant House sends to people. You may not be homeless--but you may know someone who is. Or you may know someone who knows someone who is. Also you may donate to the organization. Free food, free laundry, free clothes, free job search, free resume building, free medical (location dependent). And they still have to pay salaries, benefits, upkeep, etc. I can say the key to fund raising is connections and social networks....from what I've seen anyway. Again I may be full of it and none of you may believe me but guess what I'll doing most weeks? I'll be out in the city every Friday night handing out covenant house sunscreen, chapstick, business cards, wrist bands along with snacks and water just to let boys know they don't have to get beat and girls that don't deserve to be touched at night.

Again maybe I'm wearing rose colored sunglasses. But I see more good than bad.

17

Client Served

Rating: 5

In 2008, I mustered up the courage to leave home and went to the Covenant house. At the time, I was both fearful of the idea of staying at home and going to a homeless shelter. Here was my dilemma, if I stay at home, I faced more verbal and physical abuse everyday, if I went to the homeless shelter, I was going to get beat up, robbed, and basically anything else they portrayed in movies about homeless shelters because that was the only reference I had at the time. Looking back now, it sounds even funny to me, but at the time, it was my reality. As I was on the train headed for the Covenant House, I thought of every possible outcome, one of which was being rejected and sent home. I broke a sweat and thought to myself? How could I go home after leaving? Am I doomed to wander the streets? My duffel bag is pretty heavy. To my surprise, when I got there, I was accepted right away and then the rest is history.

Last spring, I graduated from SUNY Plattsburgh with a bachelors in Theatre and Marketing. Currently, I am working on my masters so that I can open up my own homeless shelter for teens to give back the help I once received. I believe that those who receive help and don't give it back it never deserved it in the first place. Covenant House gave me reason, provided me with safety, and ultimately saved my future.

7

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House cares for homeless and at-risk young people. They met the youth where they are - whether they need a warm meal, a place to sleep, help getting their GED or finding a good-paying, stable job. Covenant House treats each young person that walks through their door with unconditional love and absolute respect, as expressed in their mission statement. Sometimes it is the first time these young people have felt safe, loved, encouraged to believe in themselves. The work Covenant House does 24 a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year is so important, it is life changing and lifesaving.

5

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House has long impressed me with the wonderful work that it does with young adults. This age group can seem so grown up but often are hiding their suffering and injuries. If we can give them a hand to conquer their pain, they can develop into amazing persons. Covenant House is the means to making this happen.

13

Donor

Rating: 2

I donated one time to this organization about 2 years ago. Since then, they have bombarded me with unsolicited mailings, each one more manipulative than the last. For a while I was getting a mailing at least every two weeks. As another reviewer said, they send junk regularly: useless, tiny blankets, mailing labels, cheap pens, tacky holiday cards, tiny gift bags and useless doodads. Clearly some fundraising company is making a mint off this outfit. According to Charity Navigator, only 67% of donations goes to actually caring for kids. Almost 20% of every dollar goes to fundraising. http://www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.summary&orgid=4813#.UjEB0vvD9c8
If they have enough time and money to send this crap, why not spend more on actual children. Charity Navigator, a ratings aggregate web site that studies all aspects of charities, gives this group only 2 out 5 stars for handling finances.

12

Donor

Rating: 1

I think I will stop contributing to this charity until those two money-hungry ones stop collecting salaries totaling over $500,000. Imagine how much help our children would receive if no salaries were paid. This is not a 100 per cent volunteer organization as their advertisements would suggest..

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a donor for over 30 years and continue to be grateful for the amazing work Covenant Houe does not just for the children who come to its doors, but also, by its advocacy efforts, for all homeless, suffering children.

4 Patricia S.

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House is an organization that i grew up with. At different times in my life almost every member of my family has done some sort of volunteer work for this organization. So I've had a pretty close hand view of the dedication and passion that this organization has for young people who are homeless, troubled and often have no place to go. This organization has weathered some difficult blows and it has grown and continued in its mission despite difficult times.

Review from Guidestar

4

Donor

Rating: 5

I recently attended their Night of Broadway Stars event, and this is one impressive charity! Their kids seem to have a lot of heart, even though most of them come from abusive homes and bad circumstances in general. Kevin Ryan seems to be doing a phenomenal job as President/representative. I'm very proud to say that I'm a donor and will continue to support Covenant House and their cause. - M. Carl Thomas

6

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There is place where the doors are open 24/7 365 days a year -- and any young person in need can walk in and be greeting with unconditional love, safe shelter and life-changing services. That place is called Covenant House.

Youth homelessness has become epidemic in this country, but thanks to Covenant House more than 51,00 kids escaped life on the streets last year. If you visit www.covenanthouse.org, you will see that this organization has a 40 year history of providing lasting solutions that help kids transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. Isn't that what America needs right now?

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Great charity. Doing a lot for the homeless and runaway kids in so many cities of NorthAmerica. Thank you KevinRyan for doing God's work.

Review from Guidestar

18

Donor

Rating: 2

Ideals are great. Especially when you're over compensated for them. $301,387 Kevin Ryan President

Review from CharityNavigator

25

Donor

Rating: 2

I work hard for my money and like to see that it is used for the reason I donate. I think the Covenant House concept is wonderful...we don't do enough to help our "throw away" children. However, I cannot donate to a charity where the two top people make over 500K total. Is this necesary? I donate to NJ Special Olympics. The Head make 150K. This is a good salary but reasonable....Why does Covenant house have to have TWO people making this kind of money. Why two people. Seems very over the top to me...I bet it didn't start out this way. I did get unsolicited mailings with a book. The book was very moving so I wanted to donate and see where my money would go. I don't think it would touch these children since these two people have to get paid their over-the-top salary. It's unfortunate.

Review from CharityNavigator

8

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

The work that Covenant House does in Latin America is hands-down the best work I've seen done with street children anywhere in the world. In Honduras they serve more homeless kids than the government, and they NEVER shut their doors. Who else in the world takes on the expense of being completely funded by individuals (thus the high fundraising costs) so that they have the flexibility to do this? No one. It's so much easier to accept grants and shut your doors when you reach your expected results or when the grant ends, but Covenant House has a real commitment to these kids. Stunning work, I promise you. Keep it up, Kevin Ryan & team, and keep those doors open.

Review from CharityNavigator

4 Deanna P.

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House first touched my heart when I was still just a child myself. The organization's philosophy that all children deserve "absolute respect and unconditional love" is not only correct, but has been proven effective in rescuing tens of thousands of homeless children and young adults. Covenant House does not just give out charity, it gives a path to self sufficiency. Its success has been proven, there are business owners and doctors working today that once lived at Covenant House. Covenant House provides a clear, attainable and permanent escape from life on the street.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have never served on a Board before and I was lucky to have been asked to join the Covenant House team 2 years ago. I am constantly inspired by the pure HEART of this organization. From the youth they serve to the staff who work with the youth every day to the administrative team who keeps CH running, I have never seen a group so committed to serving their mission and so willing to change when it is necessary. The youth come first here. They have saved so many lives, they are a home to those without. I feel blessed to be a part of the family...

5 Bobbie S.

Donor

Rating: 3

I agree with Gretchen - I try NOT to donate to people who send unsolicited "stuff" - no matter how good the quality might be. However, I was impressed by their cover letter - well written and to the point and not so much a maudlin plea that often accompanies icky pictures of animals or people in terrible conditions.

Review from CharityNavigator

18

General Member of the Public

Rating: 2

Okay, I'm glad to see that Cov. House does such good work, but I can't support an organization that sends me, unsolicited, a package containing x-mas cards with envelopes, a pen, address labels, x-mas stickers, and a little paper gift bag. These items cost money and waste resources, and are clearly aimed at making me feel obliged to reciprocate, in cash. I send thousands of dollars to charities every year, and I am especially interested in operations, like Covenant House, that deal directly with persons in need. But I feel more comfortable supporting organizations that solicit donations in a straightforward manner. Address labels and other gimmicks are just that -- gimmicks; a worthwhile cause should speak for itself.

Review from CharityNavigator

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I heard about CoHo in the 80s and was impressed by the talk. Over the years I came to visit the program, attend events and go to the Vigil. I heard some of the kids in the program. They needed a helping hand and they found it here - when their families were unable to provide.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been to several events where Covenant House "kids" spoke and was so impressed with their desire to build on the hope and strength Covenant House has provided. Covenant House has taken in so many kids that would have died untimely deaths or would have grown in to adults without hope.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Covenant House is an excellent organization working with disadvantaged youths throughout North and Central America. I got to know it very well when I was a volunteer for their NINE-LINE - a hotline for youths at risk -(800-999-9999). Definitely, a donation worthy organization.

4

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House is a tremdous organization. I thought I had a good idea of what they do until I had a full tour of the NYC shelter. Then I realized how much I didn't know and HOW MUCH more they do than I could have every imagined! Covenant House helps kids get off of the streets by not only providing food and shelter but by teaching these young people skills that will last them a lifetime. Its one thing to provide shelter for those in need, its an entirely different thing to provide them with the tools to rebuild their lives and become better people. And don't forget the assistance they provide for babies the of homeless females who otherwise could be on the streets with a hungry baby.

8

Client Served

Rating: 5

as a teenager i spent a night there, the doors are open . All of need to be aware of our homeless but especially our youth.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Covenant House is a greenhouse where kids can thrive and grow after being damaged by difficult life experiences. With love and practical help, the staff helps them follow their dreams. Hard work and respect by the staff help the kids in countless ways. Bravo!

2

Donor

Rating: 5

Nothing is more profound to save these kids from abuse. Nothing hurts a humanity to see these innocent ones hurt and wounded by the one who should be their caretakers. Covenant House stands for them, telling them that "we are on your side" and "God is on your side", "Take courage Kiddo we will fight together, we will stand together". Every child saved is a victory to humanity.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have a great family and I thought everyone did too. But lots of kids don't. Some of them are at Covenant House. For my last birthday, we asked everyone to bring a pair of pajamas to give to the kids. Then I went to Covenant House with my Mom and we gave the pajamas to the kids there. The teachers were really nice and the kids were having fun. It's a great place.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've donated since its inception. It is vital to children that are being abused at home or have been evicted, often due to a new spouse for their parent. Left on the streets, they have little choice is ways to survive due to child labor laws. And a easy prey for hustlers, pimps & drug dealers. Covenant house rescues these kids and gives them a chance to finish their education and live a better life. Sometimes literally rescuing them from the arms of the pimps, etc.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I've been a supporter of Covenant House since it opened. It is tragic to read the stories of so many young people who have endured so much abuse and suffering through the treatment or neglect of their own families or the people they have known living on the streets. What a blessing Covenant House has been in reaching out and finding these young people. What a blessing it has been in housing them, feeding and clothing them, and helping them find meaning, purpose and love in their lives. I appreciate so much the information I receive from Covenant House keeping me advised of their work and accomplishments. I pray God's blessing on those who work at the Covenant Houses throughout the USA and on all the children benefiting from their care.

2 God'sPoeticBlessing

Donor

Rating: 5

I have beening making donations to Covenant House for approximately five years or so.I know that this organization makes a big difference in the lives of the kids it impacts. I formally myself having my entire family being homeless know what their experience is like. But I am glad that just as I had my family through those trying times they have a family at Covenant House. They don't have to face it alone. What's sad is so many homeless kids fall victim to the streets but through this organization they can have hope. I know that its God's grace that keep such a charity running. It is God the gives them the ability to truly help. It is God who allow these sort of organizations and all involved to be an extension of his hand and grace. To be able to reach those who may be losing hope, who needs to feel the hand of his grace.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a contributer to Covenant House for over 25 years because they help homeless children physically and spiritually. Their results have been outstanding helping this group that is so often ignored by society. Government programs do not reach many of these homeless children and encourage dependance rather than self sufficiency.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a regular contributor for many years. Life on the streets is terribly difficult and dangerous for a child. Covenant House sends out vans with volunteers offering a sandwich and a cup of cocoa and, most important, the willingness to listen. The kids who accept their offer are given a warm bed, clean clothes and a chance. The volunteers are wonderful and there are many amazing stories of children who have been helped by their efforts.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been a contributor to covenant House for over 20 years. I am always astounded by the testimonials from the young people saved by the loving hands of the people at Covenant House. This organization is a beacon in the pits of homeless teens who find themselves victims of the predators who prey on young people. Covenant House offers a refuge for those who thought the streets were better than their homes only to realize they hat gone from bad to worse without a safety net. covenant house provides that net. I am proud to be a contributor to this mission work. I pray someday to be able to be a volunteer.

2

Donor

Rating: 5

My personal experience is limited to Covenant House's monthly letters to donors describing the heart breaking stories of homeless kids who they have encountered, all whom they have tried to help. Some stories have happy endings with the kids going on to become successful contributors to society, and other stories do not have such happy endings if the kids are unwilling to accept the help offered.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Kids shouldn't have to fend for themselves. Every child deserves to feel welcomed, valued, and safe. Covenant House provides a sense of family for kids without one. They give kids a chance to belong and experience God's love. The work they do doesn't just touch the lives of the kids' they help. It goes beyond that, giving those kids an opportunity to grow up and be positive influences in the community around them. This is a "pay it forward" organization.

10

Donor

Rating: 5

I commend Covenant House for their hard work and dedication to our youth. Children deserve a break no matter what life throws at them. Covenant House gives them that break. They supply the support, love, and compassion that kids need and don't always receive. Kudos to Covenant House.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been highly impressed with Covenant House and their increddible devotion to the youth of America. I applied for a job there and even though I wasn't offered the position, I still remain deeply committed to this cause. With over 1 million homeless youth in our country, it only speaks to the need for more shelters to open under the umbrella of an already outstanding organization. Whenever I have extra food or clothes, I always call Covenant House to see if they can use the donation. I am proud to support this increddible endeavour and look forward with great anticpation to see the great work Kevin Ryan will do as the new president.

3

Donor

Rating: 5

Over the years Covenant House has been the one children's charity I've been willing to support on a consistent basis. Their mission of rescuing children who have been left to fend for themselves on the streets is essential to the survival of these abandoned kids. Theirs vans distributing food and taking kids in to their shelters are outreach in its highest form.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I have been moved over the years by the efforts put forth at Covenant House to reclaim youth from the mean streets of America. This is done to remove them from the snares of street violence, homelessness, hunger and lack of proper parental care. Some of the most touching stories have been to get these children out of the hands of predators whom abuse these children for whatever purpose or reason.