AveNEWS July 2018

6,000 youth in Minnesota won't have a stable home tonight. 
Together we can help. 

Upcoming Events

You're invited to learn how Avenues walks alongside youth in achieving their dreams. Join us for an open house and conversation every third Thursday of the month at Brooklyn Avenues or Minneapolis Avenues. 

Join us August 6 from 4-9 p.m. for good good and good people at the Lowbrow. 10% of sales will benefit Avenues' host home programs. Rocki, Kelly, Ryan, Ashley and Rosie from host home will be there from 5-9 p.m.! 
This Month 

Thank you to our board member, Bob Brandt, and fellow staff at Walden University for collecting essential supplies for our shelters.

UBS Financial Services collected over 500 emergency essential kits for our youth, including shampoo, conditioner, soap and shaving kits. Thank you for providing these basic needs, UBS! 
Thanks to the True North Elite volunteer group, Minneapolis Avenues' yard is looking great! 

Topline Federal Credit Union 
employees and members donated over 550 personal care items and $550 to Avenues and Keystone. Thank you for your support over the years, Topline! 

Wish List
We're running low on pajama bottoms and emergency bed essentials. You can help welcome a youth in our programs by donating essentials like pj's, pillows and sheets. Click here to shop our Amazon Wish List. 
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  Avenues for Homeless Youth

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

On any given night in Minnesota, 6,000 youth are homeless and unaccompanied. These young people face extraordinary challenges and barriers. The vast majority are youth of color who identify as African-American, and a disproportionate number identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual or allied (LGBTQIA). About 60% of Minnesota's homeless youth have a parent who has been incarcerated. More than half have been abused or neglected and have mental health challenges. Almost half of homeless youth report that they experienced violence, have been exploited sexually while being homeless, and/or became homeless due to domestic violence.

A problem this widespread and complex needs a range of solutions. In this issue, we focus on one inspiring, community-drive response - host homes. Every year, 20-30 members of our community open their homes to youth experiencing homelessness, hosting young people for as short as a week or as long as two years.

Host homes work! In FY2017, 100% of youth leaving host homes moved into stable housing. At the same time, we are fostering connections and building community. The hosting arrangement is life-changing for hosts and youth.
Interested in hosting? Know someone who would make a great host? You can learn more about Avenues' host programs here.

Katherine Meerse, Ph.D. 
Executive Director 

Finding The Right Fit: JT's Story 

Avenues trains volunteer hosts to house youth who are experiencing homelessness. The host-youth matching process is youth-driven, just like all of Avenues' work. Youth decide if a host if the right fit. This is JT's story.

This spring JT, a young man who is neurodiverse, had been waiting for the right host home for several months. He had lived in a host home as a freshman in college, and reconnected with the program during his senior year after finding himself sleeping in his car. 

Avenues started looking for a host home with experience with neurodiversity who would mesh well with JT, a high functioning, highly intelligent and inquisitive young adult. JT needed hosts who could keep up with his curiosity and tenacious spirit! 

Staff just weren't finding a good fit for JT, until finally,  that family arrived and welcomed JT into their home.  The hosts had neurodiverse children of their own and were excited about the possibility of another young person in their home. JT has been there a little over two months now, has recently graduated from a four-year college, started a part time job and reports things are going well with the hosts. 
Sometimes the wait is long and youth are cautious about who they choose to live with, but Avenues is dedicated to youth directing their own path. 

Check out Power of Love's teaser video above. 

Power Of Love: A Music Compilation Benefiting Avenues

Some of the most prominent local bands have generously donated unreleased singles to Power of Love, a 10-track album benefiting Avenues' GLBT and ConneQT Host Home Programs. Power of Love has already been played on The Current and was featured on WCCO

"Power of Love is a music-driven call to action in support of LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness and the fight for social justice," Ryan Berg, an Avenues staffer and brain father of the album, said. 

Among the notable tracks featured in Power of Love is the album's first single: "Power of Love," a
collaboration from members of Solid Gold, Aero Flynn, with Cecil Otter (of Doomtree), resulting in a
moving synth-pop gem that inspired the compilation's title. The song was composed and produced
specifically for the benefit. Listen to it here.

Pictured above: The Thies Family 

Thank You, Thies Family! 

The Thies family, Brad, Jo, Maddie and Christopher, first learned about host home when they opened their home to Ryan Berg, a staff member of Avenues. Ryan house sits for the family, who is jokingly his "host family." Since they learned of the programs, they have found creative ways to impact the youth in the programs.

Most recently, Maddie contributed a song to Power of Love with her band, Northern Pinnacle. Proceeds from Power of Love create a lasting funding stream for the programs, as well as bring awareness to LGBTQ youth homelessness. 

The family has also helped make Queer Avenues, our location in St. Paul, feel welcoming to youth. They donated bookshelves and books for a reading corner, and have given supplies for arts and crafts. They've contributed to other arts programs at Avenues too, like building materials for youth to create a tiny home project. On top of that, Jo made homemade mittens to keep our youth warm in the winter. 

Overall, they are wonderful supporters of the work we do at Avenues and give to the youth in many ways. Thank you for your support, Thies family!