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Thousands of Minnesota youth are homeless on any given night in Minnesota, and they are forced to jockey for a safe place to sleep because there are not enough beds or shelters to go around. Gov. Mark Dayton proposes $5 million biennial funding for a Youth Homelessness Prevention Program that will help youth in need find shelter and other services.
“Making sure young people in need have a safe place to sleep at night and the help they need to get back on their feet is critical to creating a Minnesota where everyone has a fair chance at life,” said Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “This proposal will allow us to better support services for homeless youth that not only gets them off the street for the night, but helps them create the future they want for themselves.”
Unaccompanied homeless youth account for 2,500 of the homeless on the streets on any given night. They have the option of finding shelter in one of seven homeless drop-in centers, 108 emergency shelter beds, and about 600 units at transitional living program and permanent supportive housing. In some parts of the state, there are little or no services or housing for homeless youth.
“We applaud Gov. Dayton for this investment in our youth and for his acknowledgement that this is an issue among communities throughout Minnesota. Now is the time for investment in statewide solutions,” said Kirsten Anderson, senior director of advocacy for Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota.
The Minnesota Department of Human Services would use the additional funding from this proposal to work with communities to develop additional capacity to address unmet needs in their areas. Those services could include street outreach; drop-in center programs; safe temporary shelter; support for moves from transitional living programs to stable housing; or maintenance of stable housing in supportive housing programs.
“Homeless youth are vulnerable and in danger when they don’t have a safe place to live. It’s critical that we ensure their safety. This proposal will help us do that,” said Jesson.
Anderson added, “This investment in young people who are at a crossroads in their lives will make a tremendous difference for them in the short term and for all of Minnesota in the long term.”