FY18 Annual Report


This past fiscal year was a time of celebration, reflection and positive change at Avenues for Homeless Youth. In September 2017, we celebrated 20 years of GLBT Host Home Program. In fall 2017, Avenues joined our community partners to house 236 youth during the 100 Day Hennepin County Housing Challenge. In January 2018, Katherine was honored to join Avenues’ team. In June 2018, we celebrated six high school and college graduations. And that was just the beginning.

Our Board, staff, community and youth also partnered to develop a strategic plan that will propel Avenues into the future.  The plan was adopted in FY19 and includes our new mission statement that better reflects our work and values: Avenues partners with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams.

Partnering with youth to achieve their dreams means continuing our principles-based work that emphasizes positive youth development and trusting youth-adult relationships. It means continuing our commitment to providing on-site health and wellness services that are strengths-based and trauma-informed. It means renewing our commitment to be highly effective while championing community engagement and solidarity, positioning us for future growth. It means you, our community, showing up as a trusted adult in a young person’s life by volunteering, donating a pair of socks, or becoming a sustaining donor.

In December 2019, Avenues turns 25 years old. That is only possible because of the dedication, love and support Avenues and our youth receive from you – our community. With 6,000 youth homeless and unaccompanied every night in Minnesota, our work is more important than ever. Thank you for your commitment to Avenues for the past quarter century. Together we will continue partnering with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams.

Katherine Meerse, Executive Director

Katherine Meerse

Chuck Tombarge, Board Chair

Chuck Tombarge
Website cover photo

Avenues for Homeless Youth partners with youth experiencing homelessness to achieve their dreams.

“When I came I didn’t get a shelter feel, because I’ve lived in a shelter multiple times before. I know what a shelter feels like. It feels like chaos, cold and wet. Avenues was warm. It’s a homey environment.”


100 Day Hennepin County Housing Challenge

Avenues was one of 16 agencies that took part in a 100-Day Challenge on Youth Homelessness, a nationwide challenge from July to November 2017. Hennepin County's goal was to house 150 homeless youth, aged 16-24, and to have 75%  of those youth be employed.

Hennepin County exceeded its housing goal, housing 236 youth experiencing homelessness, of which 57.2% had employment. During that time about 30 youth exited Avenues' programs and moved into stable housing.
100 Day Challenge Fair


Avenues' six programs offer different avenues that work for a youth's unique needs. We operate two shelter and transitional living houses (Brooklyn Avenues and Minneapolis Avenues), three host home programs, and a young families program. Our work is guided by the 9 Evidence-Based Principles to Helping Youth Overcome Homelessness.


Across all our programs, 78% of youth moved into stable housing upon exiting Avenues.


In the fall of 2017, Avenues celebrated the GLBT Host Home Program's 20th anniversary with current and former youth and hosts, its founders, friends, community members, and supporters. In the mid 1990's, the LGBTQ community in the Twin Cities recognized the need for LGBTQ youth specific housing services and supports.  After several years of community engagement and organizing, including a feasibility study in 1996, the GLBT Host Home Program was born.

The nationally recognized model serves as a vital pillar to supporting youth experiencing homelessness. Thank you to our community - this program exists because of and with you.

The impact of our supporters is boundless. This year, volunteers dreamed big.

Thank you community, for your continued support of young people experiencing homelessness.

“Staff helped me determine what my options were after high school and the various things I could do during the school year related to my college major. Staff gave me a lot of encouragement when applying for jobs. I have time now to determine the career I want to do for the rest of my life.”



Avenues’ complete 2017-18 Audited Financial Report and 990 Tax Return can be viewed here.

Financials final