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Avenues for Homeless Youth is a transitional housing program—a home—where youth can live as they stabilize, build trusting adult relationships and work toward their personal goals for independent living. Avenues operates the following four programs:

Shelter & Transitional Housing

Our North Minneapolis shelter and transitional housing program supports 20 homeless youth ages 16 to 20*. The program includes:

  • Basic needs support—clean bed, three meals per day, personal hygiene supplies, laundry facilities, clothing and weekly bus passes, 24 hours per day caring by trained staff
  • Intensive case management services and ongoing aftercare
  • Health and wellness care and education
  • Independent living skills training and
  • Employment and educational support.

Youth are welcome to stay at Avenues as long as they are working on their individual goal plans and respecting house rules. The average length of stay, excluding the overnight emergency bed, is 90 to 120 days. We have been intentionally working to increase the time youth stay, and thus improving outcomes.

*Youth may remain at Avenues until turning 21.

GLBT Host Home Program

The GLBT Host Home Program provides transitional living arrangements for 10 homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth and young adults ages 16 to 21 in safe, supportive, volunteer host homes. Founded in 1998, this community-based program is coordinated by Avenues, but supported by a vast array of individuals and other youth-serving agencies. The host homes receive training and ongoing support from Avenues, while the youth receive case management by the referring agencies.

Minneapolis Host Home Program

Just launched in fall 2012, the Minneapolis Host Home Program aims to provide transitional living arrangements for 10 homeless youth and young adults ages 16 to 21 in safe, supportive, volunteer host homes in the city of Minneapolis. This new community-based program is coordinated by Avenues, but supported by a vast array of individuals and other youth-serving agencies. The host homes receive training and ongoing support from Avenues, while the youth receive case management by the referring agencies.

Suburban Host Home Program

The Suburban Host Home Program aims to provide transitional living arrangements for 10 homeless youth and young adults ages 16 to 21 in safe, supportive, volunteer host homes in the suburbs of Hennepin County. Launched in the summer of 2011, this community-based program is coordinated by Avenues, but supported by a vast array of individuals and other youth-serving agencies. The host homes receive training and ongoing support from Avenues, while the youth receive case management by the referring agencies.

WATCH: 2012 Nonprofit Mission Award in Innovation


Program Philosophy

Throughout 2013, Avenues staff leadership worked collaboratively with five partner agencies and the Otto Bremer Foundation on a participatory "developmental evaluation" of how we work with youth. We set out to find evidence of the effectiveness of our program philosophy and principles.

Under the guidance of Michael Q. Patton, PhD, and working with the six agencies, Nora F. Murphy, then a PhD candidate at the University of Minnesota, completed in-depth case studies of 14 young people who had engaged with Avenues and the other five agencies during their homelessness. The collaborative agencies were involved in every aspect of the evaluation. In monthly meetings, we selected the focus of inquiry, designed the evaluation, interpreted the findings and finalized the report.

We have collectively published the "9 Evidence-Based, Guiding Principles to Help Youth Overcome Homelessness." This publication will be used extensively by Avenues and its partners for collaborative staff training, and will be shared nationwide with other organizations that work with young people.

The principles begin with the perspective that youth are on a journey; all of our interactions with youth are filtered through that journey perspective. This means we must be trauma-informed, non-judgmental and work to reduce harm. By holding these principles, we can build a trusting relationship that allows us to focus on youths’ strengths and opportunities for positive development. Through all of this, we approach youth as whole beings through a youth-focused collaborative system of support.

Click here to read the publication.

Watch these videos! Avenues' Youth Counselor Michael Lee aptly states via a very moving spoken word performance the great need for housing for youth experiencing homelessness...and the angst experienced as a youth counselor having to turn away young people when there simply isn't room at the shelter.

2012 Nonprofit Mission Award in Innovation Video