Covenant House in Toronto has abandoned attempts to build a youth hostel on part of a former school yard of St. Michael’s Choir School in downtown Toronto.

Des Burge, communi­cations officer with the Archdiocesan Center said that at the moment the Canadian financial climate does not allow for much successful fund-raising.

Toronto City Hall did not like the original plans and had delayed approving it.

Covenant House sources were not avail­able for interview.

An architectural drawing shows it as a cold, fortress-like building which covers the whole site.

Financial reverses

Real estate magnate Robert Campeau had agreed to raise 5.5 million over a five-year pe­riod. However, due to severe financial reverses, Covenant House has received only a small amount to date.

Previously, $800,000 was raised by wealthy industrialist Conrad Black and by Mr. Campeau at a large fund-raising dinner.

The cost of building a new Toronto Covenant House has risen from 13.5 million to over 18 million. The Ontario Ministry of Communication and Social Services had agreed to donate five million but their offer is only good until 1992.

The City of Toronto has also promised 1.5 million towards this project. The land was to have been donated by the Archdiocese of Toronto.

Donations to Covenant House/New York and elsewhere have plummeted due to the forced resignation of Father Bruce Bitter, founder of Covenant House ministry due to charges of homosexual liaisons laid by some former residents.

Partial exoneration

However, the monthly magazine, Crisis reports that a New York State investigation team has cleared Covenant House of all charges of mishandling of charitable contributions.

Attorney-General Robert Abrams said that his office and directors of the shelter were working together to establish financial procedures that would prevent even the perception of wrongdoing in the future.


Unfortunately, a cloud still hangs over the head of Father Bruce Bitter, whose alleged sexual misconduct has been investigated behind closed doors.

A six-month investigation, completed in July 1990, states that the evidence of sexual misconduct is extensive, yet no charges have been laid.

Father Bitter himself denies all accusations.

Bitter supporters, Crisis states, continue to maintain that his real crime was offending organized crime interests in New York by putting a dent in the juvenile sex trade.