Covenant House to build state-of-the-art facility in New York to help youth overcome homelessness


Board member, Strauss Zelnick and wife, Wendy Belzberg, support campaign launch with $10 million gift.

Pictured at the groundbreaking ceremony, left to right: Covenant House International President Kevin Ryan; Covenant House International board chairman Tom McGee; Covenant House New York board member Louis Rauchenberger; Covenant House International board member Strauss Zelnick; Covenant House International board member and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald; Michean Hall, a Covenant House alumni; Sr. Nancy Downing, Executive Director of Covenant House New York; and Covenant House International board member John Dickerson. / © Covenant House

Last night, for the first time in Covenant House’s 47-year history, the organization announced a campaign to design and build a new residential facility for the youth overcoming homelessness in New York City. Take Notice NYC – the Campaign for the New Covenant House New York is a $128 million initiative being undertaken to address the issue of homelessness in the City that affects 33,000 youth annually. Moreover, 19 percent of those struggling to survive on the streets become the victims of human trafficking.

The campaign is being launched with a $10 million gift from Strauss Zelnick and his wife, Wendy Belzberg. Zelnick, a longstanding Covenant House board member, is the founder of ZMC and Chairman and CEO of Take-Two Interactive Software.

At the heart of the campaign, is a new, 80,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility that will be built on the current site of Covenant House New York. The facility is being designed from the ground up to enable the organization to provide the most effective, cutting-edge treatments and services for those in need. Over the past year, Covenant House has reached over 2,500 young people in New York City, with 1,451 served in residential services. The new facility will both broaden the range of aid and services that can be provided, as well as increase its capacity to help even more at risk youth. The facility is being built on a phased development plan to ensure that existing Covenant House residents will not be displaced nor lose the benefits of their deeply needed services.

“The new Covenant House New York will put housing support, shelter, health care, educational services, job training and civil legal services under one roof,” said Covenant House President Kevin Ryan. “It will be a place where young people overcoming homelessness and human trafficking in New York City can come to safely and importantly build their new lives. We are immensely grateful to our supporters, and hope that all of New York will open their hearts and continue to prove why our City exemplifies the gateway to pursuing a happy, safer and more fulfilling life.”

“For over four decades, youth overcoming homelessness in New York City have found safety and shelter from the streets at Covenant House,” said Sister Nancy Downing, executive director of Covenant House New York. “Now, for the first time in our history, we’ll be designing a new residential facility to address all of the specific needs of our youth, allowing us to provide robust services and coordinated care, expanding the scope of our work and the number of young people that we can serve.”

For more information about Covenant House, including ways to contribute to the Take Notice NYC – the Campaign for the New Covenant House New York, please visit

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