In the late 1960s, a group of committed East Village residents – colleagues, friends, Manhattan College students, and neighbors – came together to provide a refuge for homeless and runaway youth. Eventually, the group’s work to shelter vulnerable young people gained momentum and became the Covenant Community.
In 1972, Covenant House was officially incorporated with its first intake center established at 504 LaGuardia Place in lower Manhattan. As an established nonprofit, Covenant House began to raise money to provide shelter for homeless youth across New York City. In 1976, Covenant House acquired a group of buildings on West 44th Street in order to create a multiservice center near the Port Authority Bus Terminal.
Throughout the 1970s, Covenant House continued to grow its social service programs in New York City; by 1980, Covenant House began expanding to other cities in the United States, and eventually Canada and Central America. Since its humble beginnings nearly fifty years ago, Covenant House has opened locations in 31 cities across six countries and changed the lives of millions of young people. Under CEO Kevin Ryan’s current leadership, Covenant House International now serves more than 80,000 young people who experience homelessness each year.
Today, Covenant House New York provides shelter and comprehensive services to 250 young people each day and 1,600 every year. Sister Nancy Downing assumed the position of Executive Director in 2016. At Covenant House New York, we continue to work each day to fulfill a mission that began five decades ago: to recognize the potential of all young people by providing them with the love and support they need to find their way off the streets.