There has been a long standing tradition within the Archdiocese of Anchorage that on Easter Sunday, the Archbishop celebrates Mass at Covenant House. I happily continued that tradition yesterday morning, celebrating Mass with many of the staff, board members, benefactors, and others who came to join us. We had an appropriately inspiring celebration of the Resurrection.
You can find my homily for the occasion here.
It was nice to stay for a brunch which followed Mass, and an opportunity to be with the youth presently staying at Covenant House.
Covenant House moved into their present location in 2013. It is a newly built facility with 60 beds, and the layout was designed with a great deal of input from the youth themselves. It has a great gathering space, both indoor and outdoor, a chapel, music room, fitness center and small gym, computer lab, educational rooms, a small clothing room, which provides some nice options to add to their wardrobe, particularly when they are preparing for job interviews. In this space is also a hair styling booth, so these youth can look their best when interviewing.
The dormitory offers nice sleeping rooms, wide halls and a gathering area. Necessarily, there is also an office wing for the administration where the many different client services are managed and or provided.
For this Covenant House, the average stay over a youth hovers around 25 days. Some of the service provided them include employment assistance, access to enhanced healthcare; educational assistance / achievement, with which many of the youth get back on track to complete their high school education equivalency. There is housing assistance, a chapel / prayer room for private use as well as some structured time for groups to gather for common prayer and faith sharing. Covenant House also offers a street outreach in order to help spread the word to any youth that may be in need of their services. They are provided food, clothing and information in the hopes of building relationships of trust so these youth will come into Covenant House and benefit from their services.
Covenant House also provides on site counseling services for substance abuse, mental health issues, domestic violence and sexual abuse.
During the 2015 – 2016 fiscal year, Covenant House Alaska provided:
- 72,000 meals
- 4,724 In-House Health Service Visits
- 23,009 Bed Nights
Covenant House also provides two Transitional Living programs. These programs provide homeless youth with a safe, stable living environment and offers services to help them successfully transition to an independent, self-sufficient lifestyle through gainful employment. Covenant House Alaska’s Transitional Living program has two sites in Anchorage:
- Rights of Passage: serves males and females ages 18-20
- Passage House: serves parenting and pregnant women ages 17 – 20, and their children.
All-in-all, Pretty impressive! It just makes sense to celebrate the Resurrection in a facility and with the people that does so much to give youth a new outlook on life!
Seventy percent of the Covenant House funding comes from private sources, and all money raised in Alaska stays in support of this facility and its services. We can be very proud of the quality of outreach provided troubled youth by Covenant House Alaska.
May God continue to bless this excellent outreach ministry, the administrators, staff, youth, board members and many generous benefactors!