Minneapolis & Suburban Host Home Program
In Minnesota there are over 6,000 youth ages 16-24 experiencing homelessness on any given night. Youth-specific shelter beds in Minnesota are limited, leaving the vast majority of youth without stable housing. Shelters are expensive to build and costly to operate. As a community, we need to think creatively about how we can provide resources to our youth. Not only that, but youth homelessness is not just an urban problem. Suburban and rural communities struggle to provide supports to young people experiencing housing instability. Many youth migrate to urban areas were services are more abundant, forcing them to navigate unfamiliar streets and leaving them open to exploitation.
The Minneapolis and Suburban Host Home Program is an “outside the system” community and volunteer-based response to youth homelessness. Volunteers open their homes to young people looking for living stability, basic needs support, and healthy connections. Many youth seeking stable housing come out of foster care. Typically, youth have two overriding complaints about the foster care system: they had no say over where they were placed, and the people they lived with were paid to care for them. In our host home model, which is intentionally small and non-institutional, these two features are flipped—the young person reads the applications of potential hosts and chooses whom to meet, and all hosts are volunteers. Host homes are thoroughly screened and trained, then provided ongoing support while they are hosting youth. But they are not “licensed,” which provides flexibility to address changing needs as they arise. This model is sustainable because it is volunteer-based and rooted in community.
This program is about the community taking care of its young. Youth are matched with willing adults who voluntarily share their home and themselves. The matching process is youth-driven and the adults receive no compensation – two program features that really matter to the youth.
The host home experience gives youth the time, space and support to stabilize, address immediate needs and work on their personal goals. When they move out, nearly all move into a stable, independent living situation and fully participate in the community.
The program recruits, trains and supports adult volunteers to be host homes, then match homeless youth with those volunteer host homes, so that the youth may continue to live, attend school, and work within their respective Minneapolis communities.
To learn more about the Minneapolis Host Home Program, contact the Program Manager and attend an informational meeting. Thank you!