Covenant House to open transitional housing in Westchester Square

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THE BRONX -

A program that helps homeless, runaway, trafficked and exploited youth is expanding to the Bronx.

As first reported in the Bronx Times, the Covenant House is expecting to open a new location at 1550 St. Peter’s Ave. in Westchester Square.

Work is underway to convert the building into a transitional living program for 40 once homeless young adults.

"There are no traditional living programs for young people coming out of shelters in the Bronx, so it makes it difficult for them to be able to integrate back into their own communities. So in this particular location we will have wrap-around services for our young people who will be living there onsite,” says Cathy Batista, of Covenant House.

While the mission is one to help, some feel left out in the process. 

“The community wants to have dialogue, constructive dialogue and it begins with advance notice,” says Councilman Mark Gjonaj.

Those with the Covenant House tell News 12 they want to work with the community, and met with stakeholders last week. 

“We are not trying to hide anything in particular, we look forward to working with the communities there with the precincts with the boards, the community board and the neighborhood and really working with them closely. Our goal is to help our young people; is to look at the trends that we are seeing with the young people that came from the Bronx,” says Batista.

In 2016, News 12 covered a shooting only feet away from the Pearly Gates playground right down the street from the Covenant House site.

Those with the Covenant House tell News 12 this location will be staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

“Our young people will be able to live there for up to two years with 24-hour staffing in a holistic way to work with our staff to able to be successful and reintegrate themselves back into the communities that they came from,” says Batista.

The goal is to open this transitional living program next year, and in the meantime get to know the stakeholders.

“Our goal is once that we are settled in and open is that we are working with the community in regard to joining the community boards, be in meetings with them working closely with the precincts [and] the neighborhood community officers,” says Batista.

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