News: More than 230 youth secure housing during youth homelessness challenge

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Media contact: Carolyn Marinan, Communications, 612-348-5969

Media contact: Casey Schleisman, Office to End Homelessness, 612-756-2277

More than 230 youth secure housing during 100-day homelessness challenge

During Hennepin County’s 100-Day Challenge on Youth Homelessness, the community exceeded its goal of assisting 150 youth in finding housing, with 236 youth obtaining safe, stable homes.

Between July 31 – November 8, Hennepin County joined four other U.S. communities in this challenge to combat homelessness among youth ages 16 – 24.

“I am very proud of our community’s response to this challenge. This work makes a huge difference in the lives of many young people, while aligning with the county’s goals of supporting people in being self-reliant. Let’s take what worked on and do more of it,” Hennepin County Commissioner Marion Greene said.  

In addition to surpassing its housing goal, the community made steady progress on its goal of assisting youth in finding employment and continuing education. At the end of the challenge, 135 youth (57 percent of youth housed) had obtained a job or paid internship, training or credentialing, GED or diploma or post-secondary education. The goal was to assist 75 percent of the youth to find employment or advance their education.

Continued housing and employment connections  

The challenge team worked with housing and employment partners to provide comprehensive services for youth. Efforts included a youth resource fair, during which 75 youth accessed housing, employment and wellness resources. 

The team plans to advance these efforts through case conferencing, an intentional way of working together to provide the appropriate housing and employment services for each individual youth.

“We’ve made significant progress helping young people find employment, but our team can’t do this work alone. We are recruiting employers and property owners who are interested in making a difference in our community,” Steve Cramer, president and CEO of the Minneapolis Downtown Council and challenge sponsor, said.  

Other strategies and successes

During the challenge, about 35 percent of the 236 youth exited homelessness by reuniting with their families, thanks in part to family mediation. The team plans to expand on efforts like this by implementing homelessness diversion and prevention into the coordinated entry system, the county’s approach to organizing and providing housing services for people experiencing homelessness.

Another strategy involved proposed changes to the county’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Employment and Training Program. In addition, the City of Minneapolis prioritized its workforce programming for youth experiencing homelessness. 

“The youth housing and employment providers, along with the county, came together in new and more effective ways during this challenge to achieve greater results in housing and employing youth experiencing homelessness. I am honored to be a part of this team – and look forward to all that we can continue to achieve moving forward,” Beth Holger-Ambrose, executive director of The Link and challenge sponsor, said.

To track progress, partners and champions will continue gathering metrics on a systemic level.

How you can help

The team will continue recruiting and providing support to employers and property owners interested in supporting youth in their transition out of homelessness.

Find out more at or by contacting Casey Schleisman at or 612-756-2277.

“Thank you to all of the champions and partners for their hard work throughout these 100 days and beyond. While the challenge has ended, we will continue expanding work to integrate housing and employment opportunities for youth,” Casey Schleisman, co-leader of the challenge, said. 

Challenge partners and champions

The following organizations and businesses participated in the 100-day challenge:

  • Avenues for Homeless Youth
  • Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative
  • Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis – Hope Street for Homeless Youth
  • City of Minneapolis Employment and Training
  • Downtown Congregations to End Homelessness
  • Goodwill Easter Seals
  • Hennepin County
  • Minneapolis Community and Technical College
  • Minneapolis Downtown Council
  • Minneapolis Public School District
  • Minnesota Department of Human Services – Office of Economic Opportunity
  • MoveFwd
  • Oasis for Youth
  • Suburban Hennepin Workforce
  • Tree Trust
  • The Bridge for Youth
  • The Link
  • United Way
  • YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities
  • YouthLink

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