Covenant House Institute Created to Study Issues of Youth Homelessness Worldwide

Wednesday, August 13, 2008 General News
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Bruce Henry, longtime leader of Covenant House New York, to head multidisciplinary initiative; First research initiative planned with Columbia University

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Covenant House International, one of the world's largest privately funded agencies serving homeless, runaway and other youth in crisis, today announced the formation of a multi-disciplinary, research-based initiative, the Covenant House Institute (CHI). With a mission to effect profound change in how such youth are served, the Institute will study issues related to this population, provide data critical for policy and funding decisions, and train emerging social-service leaders.

The Institute will collaborate with a range of academic and social-service partners, and leverage the vast expertise that resides in the international Covenant House organization gained from more than 35 years working with homeless youth in the U.S., Canada and Latin America.

CHI will be led by Bruce Henry, a nationally recognized expert on youth homelessness, who also played an integral role in its development. To fill his new role, Henry will leave Covenant House New York, where he has served as Executive Director for 22 years.

The Institute will conduct its first research initiative with Columbia University Center for Homelessness Prevention Studies, an official partner to CHI and one of academia's few interdisciplinary research centers focused on issues related to homelessness.

"This unparalleled initiative allows Covenant House to serve as an even stronger voice for struggling youth around the world," said Henry. "It provides a foundation for change to help these youths transcend what they've endured and become independent, successful members of society."

Youth homelessness remains a pressing social and economic issue worldwide, with estimates indicating that homelessness disrupts more than 1.6 million young lives annually in the U.S. alone.(1) These young people are at high risk of joining the ranks of the world's chronically homeless adults, whose lives of extreme hardship often end in premature death. Over many years of serving homeless youth, Covenant House has found that programs rooted in safe housing, educational / vocational training and real job opportunities with a potential for growth help young people turn their lives around.

In a related effort, Covenant House International is formalizing an additional research partnership with the Italian Federation of Therapeutic Communities to develop a pilot project educating and training young workers to better assist street youth in Honduras.

CHI will also work to strengthen management and organizational capacity among local, national and international social-service agencies, and will implement an agency-wide management training model that will create leadership opportunities for youth and rising staff.

"The Covenant House Institute is a natural and important extension of our mission," said James White, interim president of Covenant House International. "We hope that by matching our strengths with those of experts in complementary areas, we can broaden and deepen our service to these children, from whom we have learned so much over the years."

For more information about CHI, visit

(1) National Network for Youth

Contact: Sharon Horowitz, 212.220.4444,

SOURCE Covenant House International

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