In 2012, Covenant House New Jersey began offering Outreach Services to homeless and at-risk youth in Monmouth County. They reach out to young people who are suffering on the street. They start with a van, some sandwiches, water, blankets, and unconditional love. The outreach workers go out into the community making relationships with young people in crisis and offer them guidance, support and shelter if needed. The Outreach Center is located right in the heart of Asbury Park.
The main focus in outreach is to identify the teens who might be living with friends, or moving between family homes, some even living in abandoned buildings. These kids don’t see themselves as homeless, but experience has shown out team that eventually they will run out of a place to sleep and then they will know who to turn to for help.
The Outreach team is diligently working throughout Asbury Park, Long Branch, Keansburg, and other areas to find the youth, gain their trust, and provide them with the help and resources needed to keep them safe. The CH van is on the streets showing a presence in neighborhoods, visiting local organizations and food pantries and talking to groups on the streets and anywhere they find people who might have contact with youth in need. Covenant House serves 18-22 year olds.
After 5 years of operating as a drop-in center out of Asbury Park, in collaboration with our friends at Interfaith Neighbors in Asbury Park, we opened our Rights of Passage program! The Rights of Passage building allows 5 local homeless youth the opportunity to stay close to home instead of being sent to shelters in Atlantic City or Newark. It offers men ages 18-22 a temporary home as they transition out of homelessness. This beautiful home features 5 bedrooms, a communal living room, kitchen, secured storage, and bicycle racks. The program has serviced 9 young men who were able to have a stable living environment while they attended school, work, saved their money and some who have finally moved into their own apartments!