YouthLink Breaks Ground on Five-Story Housing Expansion
Collaboration with Minneapolis College Creates Pathways to Education
YouthLink, a nonprofit organization that gives young people who are experiencing homelessness access to resources in education, employment, health and wellness, housing and basic needs, announced a five-story expansion to its downtown Minneapolis facility during a community celebration on Tuesday, April 18.
The project, named Downtown View, will add 46 units of housing to YouthLink and feature a Youth Opportunity Center that will collaborate with nearly 30 organizations, including Minneapolis College, to provide services to its residents. The project, open to those ages 18 through 24, will also include a fitness area, education and employment resources and access to mental health support.
Minneapolis College President Dr. Sharon Pierce, a board member at YouthLink, was part of the groundbreaking, standing alongside YouthLink staff, volunteers and clients, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, Minneapolis Council Member Lisa Goodman, Commissioners Marion Green, Linda Higgins, John Quincy and Peter McLaughlin, among others.
YouthLink and Minneapolis College Partnership Improves Access and Outcomes
"YouthLink and Minneapolis College are recognized leaders in their respective fields and have more than a century of combined experience in helping the Twin Cities' community improve self-reliance, health and personal empowerment," said Patrick Troup, vice president of student affairs at Minneapolis College.
"Our partnership serves as an example for communities across the nation for how to successfully coordinate post-secondary and wraparound services to homeless youth."
The partnership between Minneapolis College and YouthLink is designed to improve outcomes (retention/graduation) for youth experiencing homelessness to transition from GED completion to achieve post-secondary educational goals (i.e., stackable career certification options) at Minneapolis College.
"For young people who are experiencing homelessness and may be disconnected from the resources, such as family, safe housing, education and employment, to help them transition into economic independence, the concept of navigating community systems often appears fragmented, complex and confusing," said Troup.
"Similarly, for homeless and disconnected youth with the hope of moving beyond a GED in their educational pursuits, navigating the post-secondary process is often beyond their scope of understanding. Community college failure and attrition rates are very high for youth in this age group who are disconnected and precariously housed often due to fragmentation of systems and lack of coordination among providers."
Wrap-around Services Position Young People for Success
Minneapolis College and YouthLink have partnered for many years to innovate solutions to the current disjointed system of services and to create linkages between homeless youth providers and educational systems. "We believe, with appropriate and intentional wraparound or 'bundled' support, navigation and holistic interventions, young people experiencing homelessness will be able to succeed in their efforts to achieve post-secondary success that leads to living-wage employment and aligns with their individual life aspirations," said Troup.
The services to be provided include navigation into post-secondary education at Minneapolis College, identifying personal aspirations and determining the steps needed to achieve them, making connections to internships and employment and providing support during and after a credential or certificate is earned. YouthLink and its partners at the Youth Opportunity Center will help eliminate barriers to self-reliance, improve stability and access to safe and affordable housing, improve mental and physical health, connect young people to trusted adults in the community and realize their true potential in life. Navigators at YouthLink and Minneapolis College will work together to create a seamless system of support for youth participants to be successfully positioned for self-reliance.