A Program to End Teen Homelessness


Vice Impact (2018)

Film Review

This film is about Covenant House, a remarkable teen homeless shelter in New Orleans. Although the founder James Kelly is Catholic and past co-president of Catholic Charities of New Orleans, the shelter is “Franciscan” in its refusal to impose religion or dogma on its staff or clients. It openly supports clients with LGBTQ issues, even though the Catholic Church condemns homosexuality and transgender identification.

Covenant House, in operation since 1988 caters to runaway, homeless and at-risk youth age up to age 22. Seventy percent of their clients have been physically and/or sexually abused and 80% have PTSD or some other mental illness. Twenty-five to thirty-nine percent are on psychotropic medication and some are overtly psychotic because they refuse to take medication. Some are single mothers who have their kids with them.

In addition to shelter and counseling, Covenant House also supports kids in attending local high schools, as well as offering GED, life skills and job readiness classes.

The documentary, which features moving vignettes of highly skilled counselors working with psychotic and highly troubled youth, is extremely moving.

6 thoughts on “A Program to End Teen Homelessness

  1. Pingback: Shelter – JUST NEWS

  2. Dr. Bramhall, I don’t know if I can watch any more videos you post because this one had me blubbering and just carrying on.

    Elizabeth, the one who is featured, heavily, in the video just tugged at my heartstrings, she did. I cried along with her so many times. These poor broken young people who should have their whole lives ahead of them and yet, they are suffering mightily and many feel that they are just beyond hope. It is all a sad ass shame that this country leaves her youth to sink or swim because it refuses to provide them with the necessary tools to live or barely survive.

    And I could relate to what Taylor said. She said, “Sometimes talking makes me feel so much worse.” That is what I cannot understand about so-called ‘therapy sessions’ because I think that continuing to rehash experiences that you have lived through would be counterproductive since it would take you back to the feelings of the moment when you were getting fucked up by whomever was fucking you up. We ALL know that most of our problems, if not all, begin in childhood. And people leave home and become homeless because they are trying to escape the memories of abuse and neglect and then to sit somewhere and relive that all over again by talking about it, does not sound like it would be helpful.

    What was also sad was the young lady who was asked to read flash cards and she could not read, “wide, quietly, entered, certainly.” And she just broke down in tears because she knew where that was headed when she could only read about two flash cards. Just as I stated earlier, it is a sad ass shame that this country refuses to ready her most vulnerable citizens for life in this cold, cruel world.

    Daniel’s situation was also sad in that he wanted to leave Covenant House and go live with his mother, but when he tried to reach her on the phone, she stated that she was too busy to speak with him and she had given him up when he was only 5 years old. So sad.

    I’m going to need’ therapy’ of which I disagree with if I watch any more videos you post of this nature. If a person has a caring nature, they cannot help but be bothered by all of this. And that is for sure.


    • @Shelby. Too many suicides occur simply because there was no-one to talk to them and help them through life’s problems. I ran away from home aged 16 but survived in a quirky sort of way. I wish there had been somewhere like Covenant House all those years ago. I didn’t get to heavy, nasty drugs and am teetotal, have been for nigh on 30 years, these people you speak of have their own demons and if they are lucky, they will learn how to fight and win against them – that’s the point of therapy, if I wasn’t such a stubborn bitch I might have benfitted from it. Just saying….

      Liked by 1 person

      • mohandeer, I believe it should be left up to the individual as to whether or not they would like to ‘talk’ about their experiences. I too, ran away at an early age, 15, and I survived. I ran away multiple times, came back and left again. I was so glad to finally reach the age of majority whereas the police were not called in to find me and send me to court and back to an abusive home environment. I did not want to talk about my experiences because it was just too painful and that is why I said that I could relate to ‘Taylor’. Each to his or her own.

        However, I am so very glad to know that you made it against all odds. And I am sure that you are correct in that “too many suicides occur simply because there was no-one to talk to them and help them through life’s problems” which would seem to have been what you needed. Take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you for your extremely thoughtful comment, Shelby. What really impressed me was their willingness and skill in working with psychotic clients. Most shelter programs refuse to take psychotic patients (especially if they refuse to take medication) because they’re scared of them.

    You’re right, though, about the immense implications of this documentary. This shelter just serves a small part of New Orleans. By my estimate there must be hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of teenagers living like this in the US.

    Liked by 2 people

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