Advocacy for Youth Experiencing Homelessness and Survivors of Human Trafficking

We advocate for policy and system reforms that help youth experiencing homelessness and survivors of human trafficking at the city, state, and federal levels. Our advocacy priorities ensure our youth have a voice in the conversations about laws and funds that affect them.

Covenant House Advocate | Legislative & Policy Priorities

Advocacy Guiding Principles

Covenant House's approach to advocacy is grounded in the following principles:

  • We oppose any policy responses that stigmatize our youth—particularly human trafficking survivors, youth of color, and LGBTQ+ youth.
  • We support policies that recognize the diversity among youth experiencing homelessness and advance equitable and inclusive policy and practice to prevent and end youth homelessness for all young people.
  • We value the expertise within our federation. Our leaders and front-line teams know what works and what doesn’t and can share the most compelling stories. We engage with our leaders and staff at every step of the way and include them whenever possible in key strategies.
  • We love data. Data builds our case and is key to illustrating best practices with opportunities to scale that are fundable.
  • We honor and hold true lived experiences and strive to include youth in all policy solutions and engagement with leaders. “Nothing about us, without us,” our youth ambassadors and advocates exclaim.

Anti-Human Trafficking Efforts

Covenant House continues to urge Congress to reauthorize the Trafficking Victims Protection Act in a way that include policies that take a survivor-informed approach.

We provide direct care for young survivors and work to stop exploitation as part of the strongest anti-trafficking movement in the United States, Canada, and Latin America. We advocate for:

  • Policies to combat human trafficking such as shelter support, expanded mental health care, better education, and available life skills and job training.
  • The authorization of $35 million for housing assistance grants for survivors.
  • The creation of a prevention research agenda that requires the input of local practitioners.
homeless and trafficked youth alone outside | Legislative & Policy Priorities

Covenant House Programs and Services to Support Youth Success

As a part of advocating for youth experiencing homelessness across the United States, Covenant House advocates during the government appropriations process to ensure youth are properly supported by government spending and programs.

Advancing Solutions to End Homelessness

Covenant House is not only looking for solutions to end youth homelessness for young people experiencing it right now, but for permanent solutions that will stop youth from becoming unstably housed in the first place. One of the policies that will help achieve that is the reauthorization of the Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Act (RHYTPA).

What is the RHYTPA?

Covenant House supports the reauthorization of the RHYTPA.

Every year, more than 4 million young people experience homelessness, and one in five of these youth are trafficked. The Runaway and Homeless Youth and Trafficking Prevention Program has been a necessary bridge for our youth, but more recently it has supported us to meet the unprecedented need for safe and stable housing and supportive services for youth facing homelessness.

RHYTPA made some critical updates to the current Runaway and Homeless Youth Act program listed below:

  • Improves services for youth facing or experiencing homelessness
  • Extends the allowable length of stay in Basic Center programs from 21 days to up to 30 days
  • Provides flexibility on the number of allowable beds
  • Increases age eligibility for transitional living services to the age of 25
  • Extends services to survivors of sexual abuse or trafficking
  • Preserves and expands prevention and trauma-informed services
  • Increases annual grants to support rural youth from $100,000 to $200,000
  • Authorizes over $350 million per year for services for youth

You Can Change a Young Life Today.

Your gift today will ensure we can continue to fight human trafficking and relentlessly support young people facing homelessness.