Pilot program launched to help homeless youth in Minneapolis

A new pilot program launched in Minneapolis helps provide homeless youth with jobs and helps them get a leg up on their education, while connecting them with the resources they need to get back on their feet and out of homelessness.

YouthLink, the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District (MDID), and Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) have teamed up to launch the Youth Outreach Program, aimed at connecting the city’s homeless youth with the resources they need to find independence.

At the core of the program are four young employees, who have or are currently experiencing homelessness.  Each will canvas the city streets for ten hours a week in search of others who are experiencing homelessness, particularly young people.

The employees will direct them to YouthLink and other vital resources in the community.

“YouthLink’s Youth Outreach team are incredible new assets for downtown,” Steve Cramer, President & CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and MDID said. “Their presence sends a positive message about the role young people can play as part of the downtown community.”

This was all made possible from a $100,000 grant given to the program by the Downtown Improvement District. It will be run by YouthLink, a local nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless youth find independence by providing basic needs, as well as educational, employment and housing assistance.

“Having this opportunity to partner with the downtown Minneapolis community is incredible -- to have youth earning and learning while they help their peers connect to services is a great benefit for our community,” YouthLink executive director Dr. Heather Huseby said.

The Youth Outreach Program pilot program launched in early July and will be funded through the end of 2016.