Correction: The new Covenant House facility will feature 68 total rooms and will be able to accommodate 136 youth per night.

Leaders with the city of Houston, Harris County and the Montrose nonprofit Covenant House gathered March 9 to celebrate the groundbreaking on a new Covenant House campus that will allow for a 50% increase in the number of homeless youth that can be sheltered.

Covenant House's former campus, located at the intersection of Lovett and Yoakum boulevards, was demolished in October, and the new campus will be located at the same site.

Kurt Nondorf, Covenant House's board development chair, said the new campus represents “the most significant transformation” in the nonprofit's 40-year history. An ongoing capital campaign has raised more than $41 million so far with a goal of raising $51 million.

Covenant House's mission involves helping homeless youth in the 18-24 age range, a group officials said is often overlooked once they age out of the foster care system.

Covenant House serves 1,000 individuals on an annual basis, Executive Director Leslie Bourne said. Around 40-45 youths are on the waiting list for a bed on any given night, while 15-20 can be sheltered on emergency cots, she said.

“Our new building is designed specifically for the youth that we serve,” Bourne said at the March 9 event.

Once completed, the new campus will have space to house up to 136 homeless youth per night across 68 total rooms, a 50% increase from the former facility. It will also feature a chapel, a career center, recreational facilities, rooms for art and music, a library and a commercial kitchen.

In addition to housing homeless youth, the nonprofit also offers wraparound services with the goal of helping them become more independent, including physical and behavioral health care, education and career planning.

Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said more than 200 youth leave the foster care system in Harris County every year, which he said highlights the importance of the work done by Covenant House. He also praised the donors and the support from the neighborhood, noting not all neighborhoods are as accepting of having shelters located within them.

At the March 9 event, Ellis said he would like to see Harris County look for ways to allocate more resources to neighborhoods that have shown a willingness to help young people and homeless people.

The city of Houston contributed $6.7 million in grants to the cause in January, making it the largest contributor. Harris County pitched in another $4.1 million, while more than 100 private donors and foundations provided the remainder of the $41 million raised so far with more than $3 million contributed each by the Brown Foundation and the Mabee Foundation.

While construction is ongoing, Covenant House is operating a temporary campus in the Third Ward at 3412 Beulah St., Houston. Construction on the new campus is expected to be complete by the end of 2024.

Individuals looking to support the nonprofit's capital campaign can learn more online. Covenant House is also recovering from both of its properties being burglarized earlier in March, according to reporting from our partners with ABC 13.