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Development of 'Downtown View' Officially Underway with April 18 Groundbreaking Ceremony

Article by Claudia Kittock

YouthLink is a special place, run by amazing people, and headed by the indomitable Dr. Frances Huseby.  I first heard of Dr. Huseby at meetings about people experiencing homelessness. Everyone I met talked with great awe about the work she was doing at YouthLink.

When I was a director at DMNA, we provided funds to add additional staff at YouthLink. Dr. Heather came to DMNA to talk about YouthLink and she mentioned the dream of adding living quarters to the drop-in center.  That dream is becoming a reality, and on Tuesday, April 18, ground was broken for the beginning of the Downtown View project.

Ceremonial candle lighting signified the "Ignite Change in the Lives of Youth" campaign. Submitted photo.

The Downtown View, featuring 46 units of supportive housing for youth ages 18–24 experiencing homelessness, is part of a comprehensive campaign,"Ignite Change in the Lives of Youth", that also includes an investment in YouthLink’s current facility and programs. This development fills a critical need of housing for youth experiencing homelessness, and connects them to the essential skills and pathways needed to succeed in the 21st century economy. The plan is to house youth in sections that are related to their life goals, much like a dormitory setting.

Photo credit Rick Kittock

Photo credit Rick Kittock

Ignite Change is about more than just bricks and mortar. It’s about creating a holistic, positive, vibrant community that makes it possible for youth to engage with new opportunities, broaden their horizons, and build self-esteem. It’s about inclusiveness, innovation, and connectivity - to the Youth Opportunity Center partner services, transformative programming in education and employment, and connection to the broader community through mentorship and job placement.

This is an exciting project, but there are still ways to invest in the lives of young people:

  • Learn more!       
  • Donate. Make an investment in YouthLink’s annual programs and services, or designate your gift to the campaign.
  • We’d love to show you around YouthLink and the Youth Opportunity Center. Contact us to schedule a visit today.
  • Invite a speaker. Inviting a staff member or youth speaker to speak to your group is a great way to introduce others to the work we do. You won’t be sorry. These young people are incredible and listening to their stories will change you.
  • Advocate.
  • Get Involved. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities.
Photo credit Rick Kittock

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About Downtown View

Downtown View, a $17 million, five-story partner development project with YouthLink and Project for Pride in Living (PPL) will begin construction next week to provide 46 units of high quality housing and supportive services for youth experiencing homelessness, ages 18 – 24.  YouthLink, which serves more than 2,000 homeless youth every year, can change the life trajectory for youth experiencing homelessness by connecting them to housing, education, employment, mental and physical health support, and other resources that eliminate suffering and dependence on social services. 

On any given night, 6,000 young people are experiencing homelessness in Minnesota. Downtown View will support this population by providing critical units of housing and collaborating with nearly 30 agencies working to end youth homelessness. By transforming the individual lives of young people experiencing homelessness, Downtown View will contribute in a significant and measurable way to reducing disparities, lowering social-service costs, and improving the workforce outlook across the Twin Cities region. 

Downtown View, which will connect to YouthLink’s existing Minneapolis headquarters, will provide a unique resource to residents in three key ways: by serving older youth; by focusing services on youths’ long-term goals; and by utilizing the wealth of services offered in YouthLink’s existing Youth Opportunity Center. The development will also include a Career Pathways Center, a resident fitness area, access to mental health support, and employment/education navigation.

All of the $11.8 million in public funding has been secured to complement YouthLink’s $6 million comprehensive campaign, which includes a lead gift of $500,000 from the Pohlad Family Foundation.  Other major donations include: Buuck Family Fund of The Minneapolis Foundation, Downtown Minneapolis Neighborhood Association, The Patrick & Aimee Butler Family Foundation, Ronald and Joan Cornwell, and the John and Denise Graves Family Foundation.

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