Join Avenues for Youth in advocating for resources to support youth experiencing homelessness during the 2022 Minnesota legislative session! The stakes are higher than ever as 13,300 youth in Minnesota will experience homelessness this year alone. Avenues works to ensure the safety and dignity of young people on their journey to find home. There are four important bills proposed during this session that support youth experiencing homelessness. Take action – contact your elected officials today and tell them you support this legislation. You can find contact information for your state representative and state senator here.
Investment in Avenues for Youth
While Avenues for Youth works with over 250 young people a year, there are roughly 6,000 young people every night in MN that are experiencing homelessness. To meet this growing crisis, Avenues is exploring a new space in North Minneapolis that can offer greater housing support to youth. If passed, these bills help Avenues secure critical funding for the project and ensure that Avenues can deepen its support to youth experiencing homelessness.
$100 million investment in Shelter Capital Resources
This bill will create or preserve over 2,000 shelter beds for people experiencing homelessness. The Homeless Youth Act does not support capital projects, so this will provide an important source of support for expanding shelter capacity for youth experiencing homelessness. It is an unprecedented and historic investment in critical infrastructure that saves lives.
$50 million investment in the Homelessness Youth Act (HYA)
HYA supports vital programming for youth experiencing homelessness, including drop-in services, shelter and transitional housing programs, and outreach. Current funding for the HYA is only $11 million per year, far short of what is necessary to end youth homelessness. . The legislation is supported by many organizations, including Catholic Charities, The Link, YouthLink, Oasis for Youth, 180 Degrees, Avenues for Youth, The Bridge for Youth, Lutheran Social Services, and the YMCA of the North.
Increase Safe Harbor Funding by $4 million
Safe Harbor funding provides youth who have been sexually exploited with emergency shelter and housing, as well as critical supports such as legal services, mental health therapy, substance abuse services and more. At least 5,000 youth are sexually exploited in Minnesota every year, and this is likely an undercount. This bill will increase base funding for critically needed supports.
Youth serving organizations in Minnesota are speaking out in support of this legislation. On Thursday, March 10th, leaders testified at the House Human Service Committee meeting, including Avenues for Youth’s executive director, Katherine Meerse, speaking in support of the Shelter Capital Bill and Oasis for Youth’s executive director, Nicole Mills, speaking in support of the Homeless Youth Act.