Policy and advocacy
You can help ensure that youth experiencing homelessness have every resource and opportunity to secure stable housing and achieve there dreams. There are a number of bills before the Minnesota legislature this session that provide additional resources and support systems change. Join Avenues for Youth and contact your state senator and representative to support the following bills:
Avenues for Youth funding appropriation request
SF 4213 (Champion) / HF 4188 (Lee) are bills seeking specific funding for Avenues for Youth, as the organization is exploring new space in North Minneapolis that can offer greater housing support to youth. These bills are critically important to Avenues for Youth as we try to meet the growing homelessness crisis in Hennepin county. Click here for sample language to send to your legislator.
The Homeless Youth Act
Avenues for Youth is supporting this request for an additional $50 million in funding for youth (ages 10-24) that are experiencing homelessness. Current funding for the HYA is only $11 million per year, far short of what is necessary to end youth homelessness. This increase in funding will expand the social safety net for this vulnerable population. The Homeless Youth Act will:
- Reduce the risk of exploitation
- Prevent involvement in the criminal justice system
- Prevent adult homelessness
- Improve educational and employment success
Safe Harbor Funding
Passed in 2011, the Safe Harbor law has increased awareness, understanding, and identification of the commercial sexual exploitation of youth. 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. The 2022 legislation asks for an additional $300,000 to fund a prevalence study on the sex trafficking of youth and adults within MN.
$100M 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.
Youth Services Network (YSN)
Avenues for Youth is a proud member of the Youth Service Network (YSN), a statewide coalition of non-profits, providing supportive services, emergency shelter and housing youth and young families who are experiencing homelessness and/or sexual exploitation.