I worked at Covenant House for 3.5 years and found it very disorganized and poorly run from the top down. Huge annual budget, very top heavy, without making much of a difference in many youths lives considering the amount of money spent. More employees than youth served…. Nearly two to one ratio by my count.
There were a lot of great people with big hearts working directly with the youth though for sure, but in the end I left feeling that it was a poverty profiteering scheme, where the groups most helped out by the organization were: the Catholic Church, Executive employees and the industries that received public relations press from industry financial donations. Many of those industries represented by the members of the board.
Some youth were definitely helped out but a strong majority just passed through not actually getting helped out of homelessness. Many needing counseling for sexual and drug abuse that Covenant House was not equipped to provide.
There were definitely elements of indoctrination throughout the facility and as a part of their programs.
I felt there was not much accountability there really. Because of the nature of their work no one wants to criticize them, but I felt a lot of money was wasted through poor management and lack of oversight. There was A LOT of nepotism there too where people were hired for who they knew instead of the skills and background they processed, so quality of service suffered there as well.
In the end, I think funding towards a true non religious non-profit with greater scrutiny on finances and accountability would serve youth homelessness better. More mental health social services are needed as well. Not just a prayer team and an on staff priest. These kinds of people don’t appeal to homeless youth, especially native youth who are often aware of the Catholic Church’s horribly abusive role in their history.
In conclusion I feel Covenant House is about building monuments towards their own means, enrichment and glorification. Society can do better in helping homeless youth.