“We are on this ride together.”

Covenant House mom and baby son

“I took a leap of faith,” is how Erika describes her first day at Covenant House. “The idea of walking into a shelter where I knew absolutely no one was scary. And I believed the stereotypes you hear that all shelters are bad places. But my baby Armani was nine months old, and I needed a stable, safe place for us.”

Erika and Armani enrolled in Stepping Stones, a Covenant House program for young families.

“Armani and I lived with 12 other young moms, babies, and pregnant moms. I know it sounds like a lot, but we all supported each other. Along with our counselors, we really were like a family.”

Covenant House is one of only a handful of centers for youth overcoming homelessness and survivors of human trafficking that offer residential services and holistic care to young families like Erika and Armani.

Last year, 75% of the families living in our transitional living programs moved into stable housing. Our experience — and our data — demonstrate that when young people like Erika and Armani remain with us and feel supported in our care, the more likely they are to achieve independence.

“I took advantage of every opportunity at Covenant House,” said Erika. “I got into the job development program, got my first job, and got my GED, last November. And while I was doing all this, Covenant House provided child care. Knowing that when I was out working Armani was being cared for, with so much love, made such a difference. I felt the love at Covenant House every day.”

Erika graduated from Stepping Stones and currently lives with Armani in our transitional housing program.

“It’s a little bit different, there are six other moms on my floor. So we are a smaller family than my family at Stepping Stones. We all have our own rooms, and we have a lot of meetings to support each other.”

When Erika first came to Covenant House, Armani was only 9 months old. Now he is almost two.

“Armani took his first steps at Covenant House, and the staff got it on video for me because I was working that day. He started walking early in life. He is pretty exceptional, if I do say so myself!”

Erika is working hard every day to build a future for her young family. “I’ve applied to three colleges. I am interested in psychology. It’s so interesting to me to think about how the brain works. But I’m going to work towards having a hair styling business on the side.I can’t stay still, I need to be busy.

“Whatever Armani wants to be in life, I will support him. We are on this ride together.”

Shelter Is Only the Beginning

From crisis to care: Find out what it's like when a young person enters our doors.