Covenant House Partnership: Expanding Our Reach

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A brief conversation two years ago has turned into a unique partnership.

What NOAHH Executive Director Jim Pate and Covenant House Executive Director Jim Kelly discussed in that first meeting would become the first partnership of its kind in the country. NOAHH would build rental units for Covenant House Rites of Passage program graduates, and Covenant House would help their graduates with the rent, gradually allowing them to take more and more financial responsibility until they achieved independence. In August 2015, the walls were raised on the first of the units, and in June 2016, the first graduate moved into his new home.

“I’m just thrilled,” said Jim Kelly. “Because I think that the Habitat people and the Covenant House people coming together could do exponential good for young people in need.”

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Since that first wall raising, four units have been built, each one part of a double. The other half of each double is rented by someone unaffiliated with Covenant House, allowing transitional renters easy access to someone who can serve as a mentor or give assistance when needed. As the Covenant House graduates achieve financial independence, with NOAHH’s affordable rental rates and Covenant House’s financial support, many will also become eligible for NOAHH’s homeownership program. As graduates find stability and move on, new graduates from Covenant House will join the transitional rental program.

“We feel like as people who do housing,” Jim Pate said, “one of the things we could do is make sure these young people have a decent, safe, affordable place to live with a quality landlord who’s going to take care of the property, and in time, we hope these young people will ultimately become Habitat homeowners.”

This partnership expands NOAHH’s reach, allowing the affiliate to provide affordable housing to people who might not otherwise qualify for our programs, and it fills a critical need for Covenant House, as many of their graduates reach an age where government support ends. Together, each organization is amplifying the impact of the other, and therefore, the impact of our supporters as well.

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