SHELTER & TRANSITIONAL HOUSING
SHELTER & TRANSITIONAL HOUSING
Avenues’ original and oldest program is now known as Minneapolis Avenues. Located in North Minneapolis, this program provides emergency shelter, transitional housing and intensive supportive services for 21 youth at a time, ages 16 to 21. Annually, the program supports 170 to 190 young people.
In early 2015, we expanded into the northwest suburbs with the opening of Brooklyn Avenues, a 12-bed shelter and transitional housing program for homeless youth ages 16 to 21 from the northwest suburbs of Hennepin County. We anticipate this program will support 80 to 100 young people every year.
Crisis and Basic Needs
Upon arrival to Brooklyn or Minneapolis Avenues, staff address youths’ immediate and crisis needs. We meet their basic needs by providing clean bedrooms and bathrooms, laundry facilities, three nutritious meals per day, clothing, personal hygiene supplies and bus tokens. Youth counselors and case managers provide direct care and guidance for the youth 24 hours per day. This support ranges from cooking meals together, playing games and watching movies in the evening, and having tough conversations in the middle of the night.
Intensive Case Management
Once youth feel safer and stable, they are able to take advantage of Avenues’ supportive services designed to help them begin healing from their trauma, then identify and pursue longer-term goals. Youth work with their case managers to develop a personalized plan for more independent living or reunification with family. Plans identify goals and action steps around immediate needs, employment, education, housing, mental and physical health, life skills and relationships. Avenues provides ongoing support, advocacy and service coordination with social services, educational and justice systems. In addition, youth receive assistance in obtaining vital documents, as lack of documentation is a significant barrier to success in obtaining employment, housing and education.
Learning and Practice in Life Skills
Youth become successful through learning and practicing life skills at Avenues, including cooking and nutrition, money management, job search, cleaning and much more.
Integrative Health and Wellness
The health and well-being of our youth is a paramount concern, especially given the traumas most have experienced and their lack of health care. Using a case management approach, Avenues provides health education, on-site nursing and mental health therapy, medical and mental health referrals, and complementary healing modalities (e.g., energy work, massage, mind-body awareness training, stress management training). This program has been expanded significantly in response to the increasingly complex needs of our youth. Today, we have a half-time mental health professional and interns on-site and contract with the Annex Teen Clinic for nursing consultation.
Thanks to a new grant from a local corporation, Avenues recently created an Education Support Specialist position. This new specialist coordinates care with our team of case managers to provide deeper support around educational goals to all of our youth, including youth in after-care.
Youth Empowerment and Engagement Activities
Avenues offers a variety of activities that help youth increase their self-esteem, self-determination and leadership capabilities. These include an online-community group, art and poetry group, self-defense classes, sexual health and risk reduction education, youth participation in interviews of prospective staff members and weekly house meetings.
After-Care Supportive Services
When youth move out of Avenues, they don’t actually leave our program. Rather, most youth take advantage of our after-care supportive services. We stay connected with our youth to support them as they navigate independent living (for those in stable housing arrangements), family issues (for those who moved in with family) and homelessness (for those who are not yet in stable housing). At any point in time, we are providing varying levels of support to over 50 young people who are no longer living with us.