AveNEWS September 2017
More than 300 homeless youth find safety and support at Avenues every year! To help homeless youth move from surviving to thriving, please donate.   

We're Hiring
Marketing & Communications Intern 
Youth Support Specialist 
Executive Director Search Update
We reported recently that Deborah Loon is stepping down from the Executive Director position she has held at Avenues almost ten years. She remains in the role while the Board of Directors conducts its search for her successor. The Board has retained Ballinger I Leafblad to manage the search.  Click here for the announcement. All inquiries about the position should go to Marcia Ballinger.
Upcoming Events
Dream Tours 
Attend a one hour Dream Tour, and we'll answer your questions about youth homelessness while touring one of our three facilities. An Avenues' youth may co-lead the tour, depending on availability.  Individuals and groups are welcome to attend. All tours are 5:30 -6:30 pm.
October 4: Queer Avenues 
November 6: Brooklyn Avenues
December 6: Minneapolis Avenues

Dream tours are by appointment only. Contact Craig Freeman to schedule your tour at 612-844-2005 or by email

We are indeed grateful    for our volunteers, advocates and donors! On Oct. 25, join us at Indeed Brewery as we honor all of you who make our work possible. 100% of beverages purchased 3 pm-11 pm benefit Avenues! Details to come, but you should mark your calendar.
National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month

Get ready for November! We have several opportunities to support our youth during National Youth Homelessness Awareness Month.

Nourishing Dreams

Nov. 1: Mama Donato is back and kicking off Nourishing Dreams! Mama and her crew will be selling wood-fired pizzas with 100% of proceeds benefiting Avenues. Stay tuned for more details and pre-order form.  
Nov. 8: Plan to dine out at a Nourishing Dreams restaurant on this day. At least 10% of your bill will be donated to Avenues. Details coming soon.

Minnesota 6000 6K

Nov. 4, 9:30 am-noon: Every night in Minnesota, 6000 youth experience homelessness. Together, we can change that.

Run or walk the Minnesota 6000 6K at Elm Creek Park Reserve. All ages welcome. Early registration is $35 individuals, $90 families of three or more. All registrants will receive a t-shirt and swag bag. 

The Minnesota 6000 is presented by the youth groups of Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, Discover Church and Servant of Christ Lutheran Church, all of Brooklyn Park. 

All proceeds benefit Avenues.  Click here to register. 

Give to the Max Day

Nov. 16: Save the date! Become a monthly, recurring donor on Give to the Max Day and we'll send you an Avenues t-shirt.
This Month 

The Lowbrow donated 10% of sales from one night to Avenues' host home programs last month. Thank you! 
Our friends from Temple Israel hosted a BBQ at Minneapolis Avenues in August. Youth and staff all enjoyed the delicious meal. Thank you Avi Economos, Helene Haapala, Mary Dworsky, Sue Colby, Jan Kennen, Len Kennen, Myron Goodman, Steven Clarke, Jed Marquisee, Barb Goldberg, Dean Goldberg, Denise Fogel, Suzanne Prass, Shirley Holt, Bob Holt and Alyssa Rydberg for volunteering! 

Awesome volunteers from Boston Scientific volunteered at Minneapolis Avenues in August. Volunteers deep cleaned, mulched, did yard work and much more. Thank you Tom DeGennaro, Jahonna Olson, Di Rolland, Michelle Howe, Shannon Gallivan, Nancy LaCroix, Ededa Hagstrum, Jennifer Krasa, Jason Marsh, Tumay Kujasoy, Cara Peterman, and Michelle Flemming for volunteering! 
Thank you, McKesson Medical, for donating 150 pair of socks and personal care products to Avenues! 

LGBT Guard members Autumn, Alba and Juliana cleaned and reorganized Minneapolis Avenues' donation closet last month. Thank you for volunteering!  
Thank you, Maplewood Surgical Center, for donating office supplies we needed! 
Wish List
We've updated our wish lists with our current needs.  Click here for a printable list. S hop locally and deliver to Avenues. Please contact Craig Freeman to schedule your delivery ahead. Or shop online at  Amazon , Target and Walmart

Avenues makes in-kind donation drives easy: if your organization wants to hold a drive, we will supply donation bins and marketing materials. Our staff can even drop off and pick up the bins and supplies, if needed.
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Avenues for Homeless Youth
Administrative Offices:

1708 Oak Park Ave North
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55411
Dear Friends:

We at Avenues felt compelled recently to issue a statement we titled " Reflections on Community." In it, you'll find our hopes and vision for a just and inclusive community.  I invite you to read the statement here, share it with others and send us your comments. 

At this time each year, I have the opportunity to share a bit about the impact Avenues had during our last fiscal year. During July 2016 - June 2017, Avenues' programs supported a total of 283 young people and achieved very strong outcomes:

* Our two youth shelters (Brooklyn Avenues and Minneapolis Avenues) supported a combined 252 youth. Of the youth who moved out during the year, 77% moved into stable housing. 

* Our three host home programs (ConneQT, GLBT and Minneapolis & St. Paul Host Home Programs) supported a combined 24 youth and saw 93% move from host homes into stable housing upon exit. 

* Our brand new Avenues for Young Families program housed and supported 7 families.
Beneath the stable housing data is a lot of hard work by the youth and our staff on many other critical life goals, including education, employment, life skills, mental health and relationships. Thanks to your support, a lot of youth who were surviving the streets are on their way to thriving young adulthood! 

Deborah Loon
Executive Director 

Click on the photo above to see all the photos from the celebration. Please tag yourself and others!

The GLBT Host Home Program 20th Anniversary Celebration 

Thank you to everyone who came to the GLBT Host Home Program 20th Anniversary Celebration this weekend! We enjoyed the beautiful afternoon in community, and are so thankful for everyone who made the event possible, attended it, and have supported the GLBT Host Home Program in the last 20 years. 

Rocki Simões holding the 2017 Avenues Ally Award that was presented to the GLBT Host Home Program community at the Building on Dreams breakfast last May. All who supported and participated in the program are welcome to sign it. 

The GLBT Host Home Program was created 20 years ago, thanks to a community committed to supporting LGBTQ young people. In the past 20 years, 200+ hosts and 175 youth have participated in the program for an average stay of one year. That's 63,875 days of safety and stability for youth.  We know the list is not nearly complete, but we would like to thank the following people for their commitment to the program. 

Thank you to the youth who have participated in and shaped the program. The GLBT Host Home Program's heart and soul are the youth who give of themselves and share their lives to make the community thrive. 

Thank you to the 200+ hosts  who dedicated their time, love and extra bedrooms to support youth experiencing homelessness. Your participation has literally changed the lives of so many young people (and yours as well, we know). 
Thank you to our early founders/agitators: Sharon Byers, Matt Halley, Elissa Raffa, Dan Chouinard, Julian Siwek, Senator Scott Dibble, Dylan Woodward, Susan Kimberly, Kathy Regalado, Beth Zemsky, Edward McBrayer, Kevin Cwaina, Ann DeGroot, Kristen Strunkle, Rich Hooks-Wayman, Jemel Aguilar, Constance Potter, Dr. Eric Meininger, Paul Greene, Kris Kirkbride, Mike Larson, Carol Zierman, Heather Murphy, Paul Lennander, Michelle Chalmers... and many others from the GLBT Homeless Youth Advisory Council, Minneapolis Youth Diversion Program (now YouthLink), The Bridge for Youth, District 202, and the Gay and Lesbian Community Action Council (now OutFront Minnesota). 

Thank you to Amy Snyder for leading the effort to bring the GLBT Host Home Program to Avenues in 2007.

Thank you to the folks who have volunteered in helping train hosts and/or participated in the Advisory Council: Amy Perez, Amirthini Keefe, Janet Bystrom, Owen Marciano, Lex Horan, Rox Anderson, Katie Burgess, Heather Hackman, Nancy Cusack, Melissa Peterson, Diane Long, Susan Raffo, Ross Neely, Zayed Ahmed, Qamar Saadiq Saoud, Omi Masika, Jahleel Arcani, Ryan Li, Alex Nelson, Claire Wilson, Kelly Brazil, Rowan-Marie, Carla Nathan, Jessi Tebben, Vi Haldeman, Brian Gilligan, Jacqueline White, Clayton Roberts, Kay Adam, Sol Ras, Shauen Pearce, Angie Brown, AsaleSol Young, John Bullough, Jack Philips, Myrl Beam, Kelly Brazil, Dominick Hautamaki, Kate Burger, Coya White Hat-Artichoker, and Brandon Lacy-Campos (who is no longer with us and greatly missed).

Thank you to the donors and funders who have the supported the program over the last 20 years. Without your financial support, we would not be here today. 

Thank you to the staff who bear witness and walk alongside young folks: Omi Masika, Jahleel Arcani, Kelly Brazil and Rosie Benser. 

Thank you to our celebration sponsors


A Brief History of the GLBT Host Home Program

The GLBT Host Home Program was created in 1997 in response to the disproportionate number of queer of trans youth experiencing homelessness in Minnesota, and the lack of competent services available to LGBTQ youth. This fall, we celebrate the program's 20th anniversary and honor the many people involved in the program over the years, including youth, hosts, donors, staff and advocates. 

In 1995, a review of a host home program out of the GLBT Community Center in Denver was conducted, and in 1996 Wilder Research conducted a feasibility study for a host home program in the Twin Cities. During this time YouthLink (then called Minneapolis Youth Diversion Program) was offering a support group to LGBTQ youth, facilitated by a psychiatric nurse and out lesbian. She wrote the grant and submitted it to the State of Minnesota, which provided funding for YouthLink to hire a case manager for a host home program.

Rocki Simões was hired as the GLBT Host Home Program case manager and worked with an advisory council that met monthly. During the time the program was at YouthLink (1997-2004), it supported about 100 youth. Due to funding issues and staff changes, the program was on hiatus through 2006.

Amy Snyder, then Program Manager at Avenues for Homeless Youth, led the restart of the GLBT Host Home Program in January 2007 at Avenues for Homeless Youth. The program has operated at Avenues ever since. Rocki joined Avenues' team as program manager. Funding from the Arise Project of the United Way in 2012 enabled the program to hire a full-time case manager and deepen supportive services for the youth participants. The program supports about 15 youth annually. Recruitment of host homes is ongoing. 
Generous donors have pledged a $25,000 challenge match in honor the GLBT Host Home Program's 20th Anniversary. Help the program into the next 20 years by matching a donation. 

Calling All Restaurants: Help Us Nourish Dreams

Avenues invites restaurants, cafes and coffee shops to participate in our 2nd annual Nourishing Dreams fundraiser. Participating restaurants donate 10% or more of their breakfast, lunch or dinner sales on November 8, 2017. Avenues will promote participating restaurants on our social media, newsletter and media outreach. Read about last year's event in a Sun Post article here.

All donations made will support one of Avenues' biggest costs: FOOD. Between Avenues' two shelters, we serve about 35,000 meals a year, and spend almost $100,000. 

Thank you Cuppa Java, Herbivorous Butcher, Smack Shack, Wilde Cafe & Spirits, 6Smith, Galactic Pizza

Butter Bakery, Tullibee, The Malt Shop and Mama Donato's for participating in the 2017 Nourishing Dreams! 
For more information or to sign up, please contact Rachel Blair at  612-844-2001 or by email

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