Manhattan, NY For the first time in Covenant House’s 47-year history, the organization has launched a campaign to design and build a new residential facility for the youth overcoming homelessness in New York City. Take Notice NYC - the Campaign for the New Covenant House New York is a $128 million initiative being undertaken to address the issue of homelessness in the city that affects 33,000 youth annually. Moreover, 19% of those struggling to survive on the streets become the victims of the horrors of human trafficking.
The campaign is being launched with a $10 million gift from Strauss Zelnick and his wife, Wendy Belzberg. Zelnick, a long-standing Covenant House board member, is the founder of ZMC and chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software.
The project is an 80,000 s/f, 11-story facility that will be built on the current site of Covenant House New York. Made possible through a real estate development partnership, which was structured by Denham Wolf Real Estate Services through a planning and selection process, the purpose-built facility is being designed by FXCollaborative with further representation by Levien & Co. When complete, facility will enable the organization to provide the most effective, cutting-edge treatments and services for those in need. A ground breaking ceremony was held on September 19th.
“Covenant House New York’s new purpose-built facility supports their mission of providing homeless youth with shelter and access to support services, giving the residents opportunities to work toward stable, re-engaged lives,” said Heidi Blau, FXCollaborative’s partner-in-charge of the project.
“The design of the new building balances the dualities at the core of Covenant House’s mission: To be open and welcoming, yet safe and secure,” Blau said. “To celebrate community and never forget the individual; to stand out yet blend in; and to serve a specific purpose yet be flexible enough to allow for change.”
“The building’s exterior envelope is composed of brick, metal and glass: strong materials that speak to the organization’s lasting presence in the community. A large expanse of windows on the second floor invites interactions and connections to the city. Throughout the interior, highlights of wood create feelings of warmth and comfort. We want to create a place where the youth feel at ease and can begin to heal,” Blau said.
The facility is being built on a phased-development plan to ensure that existing Covenant House residents will not be displaced nor lose essential services. The estimated construction completion date is 2021.
“The new Covenant House New York will put housing support, shelter, health care, educational services, job training, and civil legal services under one roof,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “It will be a place where young people overcoming homelessness and human trafficking in New York City can come to build their new lives.”
Over the past year, Covenant House has reached over 2,500 young people in NYC, with 1,451 served in residential services. The new facility will both broaden the range of aid and services that can be provided, as well as increase its capacity to help even more at risk youth.
“The new Covenant House New York will put housing support, shelter, health care, educational services, job training and civil legal services under one roof,” said Covenant House president Kevin Ryan. “It will be a place where young people overcoming homelessness and human trafficking in NYC can come to safely and importantly build their new lives. We are immensely grateful to our supporters, especially Strauss and Wendy, and hope that all of New York will open their hearts and continue to prove why our city exemplifies the gateway to pursuing a happy, safer and more fulfilling life.”
“For over four decades, youth overcoming homelessness in New York City have found safety and shelter from the streets at Covenant House,” said Sister Nancy Downing, executive director of Covenant House New York. “Now, for the first time in our history, we’ll be designing a new residential facility to address all of the specific needs of our youth, allowing us to provide robust services and coordinated care, expanding the scope of our work and the number of young people that we can serve.”