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For more than 20 years, Covenant House Georgia (CHGA) has provided youth experiencing homelessness and escaping trafficking a place to begin the process of stabilizing their lives. Serving over 1,300 youth last year and facing an increased demand for our services, CHGA is expanding its capacity to serve this vulnerable population. The Building on a Promise campaign is a $9.7 million initiative that will support the expansion of our crisis shelter, construction of a new on-site transitional housing facility, and enhance supportive services. Our renovations began in December 2020, and construction on our new transitional housing is scheduled any day!
In 2020, CHGA provided 418 unique youth emergency shelter. Operating at full capacity and with a waiting list at any given time, CHGA plans to renovate its main building to create two additional shelter rooms that will house six male residents each, increasing the shelter’s capacity by more than 20%. Based on an average 30-day stay, the added beds will enable CHGA to shelter an additional 144 youth each year.
CHGA will construct a new, onsite apartment building adjacent to the crisis shelter. The new building has been designed for maximum flexibility that will allow CHGA to respond to the fluctuating needs of its youth and may even be used for shelter overflow in times of emergency. The three-story, 20,200 square foot building will consist of 30-single units, each with its own kitchen, bathroom, and living area. We will house at least 15 youth in the building in year one, growing to 30 youth by the following year.
With an increase in the number of youth we are serving comes an increased demand for supportive services. CHGA plans to hire six additional resident assistants to maintain its 1:10 staff-to-resident ratio within the crisis shelter across three 24-hour shifts, as well as three additional full-time case managers, a full-time therapist, and a housing navigator. Additional funds will be needed for general assistance to youth such as MARTA passes, school supplies, hearing aids, glasses, or other personal items residents may need to fulfill their case plan, budgeted at around $1,000 per resident.