Providing a longer runway for youth experiencing homelessness or human trafficking

A resident makes coffee at Covenant House Alaska. The Bridge to Success program helps young people take the next step toward independence.

At Covenant House Alaska (CHA), it is 9 a.m. and some of the youths there are just stirring. One young woman makes her way into the café, where the scent of fresh coffee emanates from the doors. Another Covenant House resident is learning how to make that coffee. A third sits alone at a table, class books and notes spread before him.

This is the everyday scene at CHA, which for 34 years has been creatively meeting the needs of at-risk youth ages 13 to 24 to help them find a brighter future. Since 1988, it has helped more than 30,000 youth experiencing homelessness or human trafficking find a way forward. 

During the past year, Providence Alaska’s support has helped CHA with one of its most ambitious initiatives yet: Bridge to Success. Bridge to Success, which opened in 2022, has two components – 22 on-site micro-apartments and a training center offering education or workforce development to help young people take the next step toward independence.

“We want them to grow and learn, and we want to empower them to make adult decisions,” said Sean Gaither, director of housing. “We help them when they make mistakes – and they do – to correct behaviors. They are seeing first-hand the amount of trust we put in them; they feel it, they notice it and they respond to it.”

“The 30-year partnership with Providence has allowed us to be innovative in the way we provide services,” he added.