Letter from Covenant House Texas Board Chair and Executive Director

To our dearest friends and supporters,

Because of the diligence, creativity and generosity of so many, despite a tumultuous year, we have been able to protect our youth and meet our fiscal year budget! We are hopeful that continued fundraising success will follow us into the 2021 Fiscal Year that began July 1st.

Without you, we couldn’t have met our revenue budget for this year – and we THANK YOU for helping to do so. Your monetary gifts, in-kind donations, and prayers have kept us afloat during the most challenging organizational period to date.  We haven’t come through this time yet, but we know we are blessed in so many ways.

Now more than ever, the health crisis in Houston calls for us to be vigilant and diligent for the sake of our youth. We are asking them to leave campus only by necessity, in order to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 and bringing it back to campus. Likewise, we must continue to guard them with the closure of campus to all visitors.  We continue to minimize spread risk by keeping our administrative staff on a work-from-home status as much as possible. We appreciate your understanding of our closed campus policy until the number of positive cases in Harris County declines and we have a better sense of virus control.

We’ve had to make difficult decisions in order to protect our population, including decreasing our census in order to safely serve our current residents. As you know, homeless youth are at risk of many physical conditions resulting from neglect, poverty, and access to healthcare. Many of them have had little medical care before arriving at our doors.  This makes them increasingly susceptible to severe cases of COVID-19, when compared to other 18-24 year olds. Covenant House Texas is responding to the threat of COVID-19 on our vulnerable population by limiting their exposure as much as possible. For this reason, we are adhering to the recommended guidelines of Covenant House International, and adopting many of the precautionary practices of the Houston business community.    

Our staff remain dedicated to their work with and for our youth. Whether at home, or on campus, every team member has experienced a stressful four-month period; we are doing everything we can to lighten the weight of fear and anxiety that everyone is experiencing. Our direct-care heroes are of utmost concern as they bravely carry out their duties in compassion.  The latest warnings of a worsening pandemic, coupled with the recent illustrations of racial injustice, have been physically and emotionally overwhelming. The health and mental wellness of our staff is critical to the positive, peaceful environment that is essential to our mission.

Covenant House Texas will continue to provide the basic and comprehensive services that allow young people to overcome trauma, hardship, poverty, social barriers, and stigma. We have always been at the center of a movement that advocates for the underserved and disadvantaged, and we will continue to be that voice. Covenant House International (CHI) is taking significant action to systematically address inequalities and discrimination that effect our youth and staff. Covenant House International CEO, Kevin Ryan, is forming a Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusion that will survey our work and make strategic recommendations for immediate implementation across all sites.  Covenant House Texas will answer the call to action and has already taken many steps to actively listen, unify and help heal. In conjunction with CHI, we will continue to evaluate our programs, techniques, approaches, communications and strategies to ensure we are a welcoming and equitable place for all.

We promise to keep you posted on the development and modifications of our programs as we navigate through this time of uncertainty.  We have learned so many lessons and will continue to become stronger as a result.  We are all in this together, and it is in the spirit of togetherness that we will get through this.

Mike Holland
Chairman of the Board

Leslie Bourne
Executive Director

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