330 Washington Street
Newark, New Jersey 07102
Why We Fund Covenant House New Jersey
Covenant House New Jersey (CHNJ) is a Newark-based organization that provides outreach and services to homeless youth in New Jersey. Recently, CHNJ opened a site in Jersey City, which is helping to meet a stark need there for programs that work with homeless youth.
Founded in 1989, Covenant House New Jersey's faith-based mission is to help homeless and at-risk youth move to stable living environments and become productive members of society. CHNJ serves young people age 16-21, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In total, CHNJ served approximately 2,800 youth in 2011. To accomplish its mission, it operates a variety of programs:
Outreach:This program is an effort to reach youth who are on city streets for various reasons (runaways, kicked out of their homes). Outreach vans cruise the streets at night, searching out these youths and providing them with food, a trained counselor and referrals to shelters and health services, if needed. Youth are also referred to the organization's shelter and drop-in center for ongoing counseling.
Shelter and Drop-In Center: These programs provide shelter and supplies to meet young people's basic daily needs.
Rights of Passage: This program provides youth with transitional housing (apartment buildings owned by CHNJ) for up to 18 months, and support services including counseling, and help completing their education, finding jobs, and finding permanent housing.
Raphael's Life House: This is a house for pregnant youth, and new mothers and their babies. Their medical needs are met on-site, and the young women can stay there up to 18 months.
Nancy's Place: This is a residential home for youth with mental illnesses. There is intensive therapy to help stabilize these youth, and the length of stay depends on their progression.
The following services are available to all of the youth served by CHNJ: food, clothing, showers and laundry facilities, medical care, substance abuse treatment, substance abuse prevention, behavioral/psychological counseling, educational and vocational services, case management, legal advice, and pastoral care.
In 2011, CHNJ began an outreach program in Jersey City. Staff conducts street outreach to homeless youth in the community, making them aware of the services CHNJ provides and encouraging them to use CHNJ's more comprehensive shelter services in Newark (transportation provided). If they decline, they are provided with food, blankets, clothing, and counseling. This year, CHNJ continues its outreach services in Jersey City and will expand its services with a drop-in site. This drop-in site will offer more extensive services (i.e. assistance gaining legal identification; bus tickets for school, work, mental health, and/or legal services; assistance in securing safe housing; formal referrals to comprehensive services; and encouragement to utilize CHNJ's shelter services). If all goes well, they will also explore the possibility of establishing a residential program based on the needs of the Jersey City youth.