YouthLink is the place where the END of homelessness and the END of poverty begin for youth served.
Overwhelmed by chaos, instability, and abuse, David left home at 15. He had three younger siblings, and his mother, raising them alone, struggled. With no father in the picture and acute financial stress, David's mother fell into a deepening depression that led to alcohol abuse. To survive, David knew he had to escape his unstable environment. He loved his mom, but he couldn't be the parent.
Liz was desperate for someone to believe her. When no one would, she had to protect herself - to live "safely" away from the adults in her world who couldn't seem to help. Lisa was seven years old when the state took her from her mother. She had faced enough challenges to last a lifetime.
Jewel was desperate to stay in high school, but it was too hard without a stable place to live. Just 16 years old, and with nowhere to stay when her mother refused to house her, Jewel turned to friends, hopping from home to home, trying to find a safe place to spend the night.
On any given night, an estimated 2,500 Minnesota youth, just like David, Liz, and Jewel experience homelessness.
At YouthLink, our mission is to build healthy relationships with youth and the community to address youth’s urgent needs so that doors of opportunity are opened to futures of empowerment, connectedness, and self-reliance.
We recognize that there are many resources available for young people experiencing homelessness, including public and nonprofit social services, yet the system is complex, making it difficult for youth in crisis to navigate.
YouthLink simplifies the system. Recent selection as the site of the Youth Opportunity Center by Hennepin County and the city/county plan to end homelessness in 10 years (Heading Home Hennepin), YouthLink has brought over 20 community partners under one roof.
Through the Youth Opportunity Center at YouthLink, young people experiencing homelessness can find resources and services in basic needs, education, employment, mental and physical heath, and supportive housing. We provide a stable, safe environment for young people to help them move past immediate survival and learn the skills and tools needed to achieve healthy and sustained self-sufficiency in life.
It’s your support that makes our mission achievable! Thank you for helping us provide youth with a safe, supportive, respectful and responsive community!