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On any night in Minnesota, 4,000 youth and young adults are homeless and on their own. More than 10,000 young people in Minnesota experience homelessness every year. Avenues for Homeless Youth provides emergency shelter, short-term housing and supportive services for homeless youth in a safe and nurturing environment. Through such service, Avenues seeks to help youth achieve their personal goals and make a positive transition into young adulthood.
Wilder Research estimates that, on any night in the state of Minnesota, 4,000+ youth and young adults are homeless and unaccompanied by an adult. Youth homelessness has jumped 63% in Minnesota since 2009, according to Wilder Research’s latest count in October 2012.
Homeless youth struggle with numerous issues because of their age and lack of safe housing:
- They are too young to obtain rental housing on their own; they simply do not have adequate income or savings to pay a damage deposit.
- Without job experience or personal identification with a current address, they struggle to gain or improve upon their employment.
- They have had little or no access to health care, mental health, legal support or social services.
- Very often, their education is interrupted or curtailed.
The choices many homeless youth must make in order to survive often are not good for them. Youth on the streets are more likely to be assaulted or coerced by predators, to engage in prostitution, to become pregnant, to not receive needed medical or psychological attention, and to fail to find enough food and shelter to survive.
Homeless youth need youth-specific intervention in a setting safe from the hazards of street life. Age-appropriate shelter and supportive services is critical to protecting the vulnerability of homeless youth.
For these youth, a stable residence with adult supervision is the beginning of addressing larger life shaping issues.