The CHNY advocacy program works to create systemic change by lobbying to enhance laws and services that affect young people experiencing homelessness and human trafficking. Our advocacy team works with a variety of coalition partners to advocate for changes in law and policy on all levels of government. A main priority is enhanced funding and services for runaway and homeless youth (RHY) on the city and state level. Additional major legislative priorities include protections for youth in the child welfare system, criminal justice reform, especially related to the civil consequences of criminal convictions, and laws to protect and better serve survivors of human trafficking.
The Advocacy Department oversees a youth internship program where four Covenant House youth (current or recent CHNY clients) work with the VP of Advocacy to advocate for legislative change to enhance services and law to benefit young people experiencing homelessness. Two of the four internship positions are prioritized for survivors of human trafficking/commercial sexual exploitation. Youth interns attend coalition and legislative meetings with the VP of advocacy, draft blog posts and policy memos, testify before the New York City Council and NYS Assembly/Senate, and lead video and other projects. The youth interns gain valuable leadership and professional skills while helping to ensure that CHNY’s advocacy agenda lifts up youth voices and lived experiences.