At a press conference held at Covenant House New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced sweeping measures to enhance services for homeless youth, including the addition of 300 youth beds over the next three years.
In addition to the 300 beds, the Mayor’s new initiatives include deployment of additional staff to coordinate services for youth entering the Department of Homeless Services’ shelters, and a pledge to work with the state to extend the length of stay for those in existing crisis beds to 90 days.
“The success of programs like Covenant House is due to the fact that their doors are open,” said Mayor de Blasio, surrounded by Covenant House youth. “Covenant House welcomes … they embrace. They believe in each of these young people. Covenant House knows that it is not enough to tell young people they are the future … we must treat them like they are our future.”
The Mayor commended Covenant House New York Executive Director Creighton Drury for his passion and leadership, and then spoke directly to our kids. “I admire you and I thank you,” he said.
“It’s not easy to feel the sting of rejection when you don’t know where to turn for help. And sometimes, it’s not easy to accept help. But you had the courage to overcome so many hardships and come here and ask for help, and work so hard…
“From counseling, to GED support, to youth-specific employment and training programs, youth shelters like Covenant House have the right services and environment for young people to stabilize their lives,” said the Mayor. “With this major investment, we’ll triple the total number of youth beds since we took office and ensure that even more young people are connected to the resources they deserve to rebuild their lives.”
“Literally since the day Mayor de Blasio stepped into office, he has been fighting for our young people and for those of us who do this work,” said Covenant House New York Executive Director Creighton Drury. “It is through his efforts and the efforts of his administration that Covenant House and other homeless youth providers have been able to open our arms wider to homeless youth in need.
“There is nothing more painful than telling a homeless youth that we’re sorry, but we have no room for you,” said Creighton. “Today’s initiatives get us that much closer to the day when every homeless youth who needs a safe bed will have one. We’re not there yet, but we’re getting closer, and what a great opportunity we all have together to make this happen.”
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