Recently, the Covenant House Alaska outreach team found a teenager sleeping on a cardboard box in downtown Anchorage, struggling to stay warm in the entryway of a closed business. She was hungry and cold and didn’t have a place to call home. The team was familiar with the young woman and the complications of the addiction and trauma she experienced that had ultimately brought her to the streets. They offered her a warm meal and hot coffee, and she made the courageous decision to ask for help.
This young woman is not a nameless, faceless statistic. She is a person who felt she had nowhere to go as she faced addiction and the results of trauma. The team at Covenant House knows that every person who finds themselves in a situation like this has a compelling story, many filled with physical and emotional injury, loneliness and fear. The path to homelessness is complicated, and finding a solution requires the entire community to pool its resources to affect real change in the lives of real people.
Most important to Covenant House is offering unconditional dignity, respect and love to every young person who walks through the doors of its Youth Engagement Center. This young woman, and many other youths who come to the Center, receive critical onsite services like substance abuse and mental health counseling, medical care and emotional support. Later, education and skills training are offered at the Center, as well as a transitional living program to help young people learn how to save money, pay the rent, cook healthy meals and maintain a household.
Their hope for this young woman, and for every young person who walks through the doors of Covenant House, is for her to realize her dreams and goals, find a steady job and break the cycle of homelessness. The Murdock Trust is proud to have supported the construction of the Youth Engagement Center and to play a small role in helping young people get back on their feet and find hope for their futures.