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CUOMO PRESENTS $1 MILLION TO COVENANT HOUSE IN ANCHORAGE FOR HOUSING AND PROGRAMS FOR HOMELESS YOUNG PEOPLE
ANCHORAGE, ALASKA - Housing and Urban Development Secretary Andrew Cuomo today presented $1 million to Covenant House in Anchorage to buy and rehabilitate a downtown building that will provide housing to 14 homeless youths and services to another 50 young people each day.
Covenant House has been providing transitional housing for up to eight homeless youth at a time and providing services to youths who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless since 1993 in Anchorage.
Purchasing and rehabilitating the downtown building will allow the group to house up to 14 young people at a time and will allow it to expand its services to young people, ages 17-20.
"Covenant House is giving young people the opportunity to put homelessness behind them and to build new and productive lives," Cuomo said. "By helping young people deal with their problems and get the training and education they need, Covenant House is replacing hopelessness with hope."
Senator Ted Stevens, Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which funds HUD programs, requested the Covenant Housing funding in last year's VA-HUD Appropriations bill. He said: "It's great news that the Department has released the funds we requested to acquire and renovate the downtown Covenant House building. This will help alleviate the critical need to expand the valuable services to Alaska's at-risk youth and their families that Covenant House has provided through the years."
In addition to housing, Covenant House provides meals, health care, and family mediation to youth in crisis. The organization also provides programs in education, job-training, independent living skills, interpersonal skills and self-esteem improvement to help young people overcome their problems and move on to jobs or further education.
The new Covenant House facility is scheduled to open in December.
Cuomo was joined at the check presentation by Anchorage Mayor Rick Mystrom, Archbishop Francis Hurley, Covenant House International President Sister Mary Rose McGready and Covenant House Chairman Bob Flint.
Covenant House, begun in New York City in 1972, operates transitional housing for youth in 10 U.S. cities and four other countries.
The assistance to Covenant House is part of HUD's Continuum of Care strategy, which works to provide homeless people with permanent solutions to their problems so they can escape homelessness. Cuomo developed the strategy while heading Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged (H.E.L.P.), a group he founded in 1986 in New York City. H.E.L.P. grew to become the nation's largest private provider of transitional housing for the homeless. Cuomo played a key role in having the Continuum of Care strategy adopted as national policy when he was an Assistant Secretary at HUD during President Clinton's first term.
President Clinton's proposed 1999 budget calls for $135 million in increased funding for homeless grants - combined with $192 million for 34,000 rental assistance vouchers for homeless people - for a total of $1.15 billion to help more homeless Americans get housing and become self-sufficient. This represents a nearly 40 percent increase over this year's enacted funding of $823 million.
Cuomo began a two-day visit to Alaska today. This morning, after meeting with Governor Tony Knowles, Cuomo announced $79 million in assistance for programs to create affordable housing, jobs and economic opportunity - including $62 million going directly to Alaska Natives. The funding for Covenant House is part of the $79 million in aid. (SEE SEPARATE RELEASE)
Cuomo is meeting with government, business, community and Alaska Native leaders during his visit to the state, and is traveling to Juneau, Anchorage, Kasigluk and Bethel.
Content Archived: January 20, 2009