AveNEWS January 2018

With your help, Avenues will be home to more than 300 youth in 2018. 

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.  Individuals and groups are welcome. All tours are 5:30 -6:30 pm.
March 7: Brooklyn Avenues
April 4: Minneapolis Avenues 

Dream Tours are by appointment only. Contact Craig Freeman to schedule your tour at 612-844-2005 or by email
Doesn't that look delicious? Stop in at  Sencha Tea this winter and enjoy a Vanilla Cookie Crumble - served hot or cold! Proceeds from the drink benefit Avenues. 
Wanting to do something fun for the Super Bowl?  Esera Tuaolo's Super Bowl Inclusion Party brings the LGBT and NFL communities closer together and raises financial, educational, and networking support for diversity and anti-bullying organizations. Come have fun, dance, and see some great performances while you support a great cause - Avenues! Click here for details.
Sponsorship opportunities are now available for our 5th annual Building on Dreams breakfast on May 1!  Your sponsorship will help us inspire over 300 guests to support youth in building their dreams.  Click here for more details.
This Month 

Thank you to volunteers who came to our shelters on MLK Day! Human Rights Campaign and Arise Project of the Greater Twin Cities volunteers cleaned and cooked meals at our shelters.
Thank you Trinity Presbyterian Church for the blanket donation and for having Katherine, our Executive Director, speak to your congregation. 
Shout out to The Assurance Group for collection in-kind donations for our programs!
Thank you Shir Tikvah volunteers for making lunch for our young people! 
Despite overall economic health, affordable housing is a priority - Star Tribune

Lack of affordable housing has tenants fighting to stay in problem landlord's properties - MPR
Wish List
We keep our wish lists updated with our current needs. Click here for a printable list. S hop locally and deliver to Avenues. Contact Craig Freeman  to schedule your delivery. 

Or shop online at  Amazon , Target and Walmart

Conduct your own in-kind donation drive at your workplace, neighborhood, faith or civic organization! Avenues makes it easy: if you want 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. Contact Craig
Like us on Facebook   Follow us on Twitter 
  Avenues for Homeless Youth

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

Since I joined Avenues last month, I have had many opportunities to think about the power of community - sometimes in surprising ways! I got to see our community within Avenues come together when a pipe burst at our Minneapolis Avenues location, flooding our first floor offices and basement.  At 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 7th, a staff member working in a first floor office heard a loud bang and water began pouring from the ceiling. Within an hour youth, staff members and friends of staff members had mobilized to haul soaked ceiling tile to the dumpster, run wet vacs and push mops. In four hours, all the standing water was cleaned up and we were ready for the next phase of what will likely be a 2-3 month process of reconstruction. Happily youth did not have to move out and we will continue business as usual. Check out photos of the flooding and work repairs on our Facebook.

The community within Avenues is great, but we could not do this work without YOU, the larger community. Whether it is a young volunteer delivering over 100 bottles of body wash from her birthday drive just when we need it or a property manager like Kay Cooper stepping up to provide housing for our young families, we are always overwhelmed by your generosity and support.

And, of course, we never forget that it was community members in Brooklyn Park who came together to create our Brooklyn Avenues house. We hope to see you at our celebration of the 3rd anniversary of Brooklyn Avenues on February 28th!


Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 

Keeping Homeless Families off the Streets: An Interview with Kay Cooper

"There's a housing crisis going on," Kay Cooper, Property Manager of West Broadway Crescent Apartments (a CommonBond Community), said. "I know it's important - there are families ending up on the streets."

Kay has been working with Elaine Woods, Avenues for Young Families Program Manager, since the program launched in early 2017. Kay has helped five of Avenues' families get apartments at West Broadway Crescent. 

"I hope I'm making a difference," Kay said about working with Elaine. "I get the opportunity to give young people their first apartment and watch them thrive"

Avenues for Young Families needs more connections with property managers and landlords like Kay. With the affordable housing crisis, it is difficult to find affordable apartments and landlords that are willing to work with  young families. 

"Elaine is very hands on," Kay said about working with Avenues for Young Families. "Before I even approach our residents, I talk to Elaine. Things have been going great with our tenants." 

For more information on Avenues for Young Families and how landlords can get involved, contact Elaine. 
Know a landlord/property manager that wants to get involved? 
Contact Elaine Woods for more information on partnering with Avenues. 
612-844-1215 or Email

Youth Homelessness in the Brooklyns: A Panel Discussion 

Next month we will be celebrating Brooklyn Avenues's third anniversary. In honor of the anniversary, Avenues is hosting a panel discussion on the state of youth homelessness in the Brooklyns. A free spaghetti dinner will be served at 6:00 pm, followed by a welcome from Mayor Lunde, an update on Brooklyn Avenues and a panel discussion. The panel will discuss current trends in the Brooklyns, services essential for youth, ways the community can get involved, and a Q and A.

The panelists will include Brooklyn Park Police Chief  Craig Enevoldsen, Brooklyn Center Community Schools  Director of Special Services Lindsey Horowitz, Brooklyn Avenues Case Manager Chandler Jayasekera, and a past Brooklyn Avenues' youth Hanie.  

When: Wednesday, February 28, 2018 from 6:00-7:30 pm
Where: Elks Lodge #44,  2875 Brookdale Dr.,  Minneapolis, MN 55444

100-Day Hennepin Challenge Results

Avenues was one of 16 agencies that took part in a 100-Day Challenge on Youth Homelessness, a nationwide challenge from July to November 2017. Hennepin County's goal was to house 150 homeless youth, aged 16-24, and to have 75%  of those youth be employed. 

Hennepin County exceeded its housing goal, housing 236 youth experiencing homelessness, of which 57.2% had employment. During that time about 30 youth exited Avenues' programs and moved into stable housing. 

From the challenge we learned how much employment is needed for youth, and that we have to continue to build connections with employers to meet the need. Funding for job training programs also needs to be prioritized.