The Latest AveNEWS
From surviving the streets to thriving young adults.

To the Avenues Community

Dear Friends -

Over 200 guests attended our Building on Dreams breakfast May 3, expressed their dreams for youth experiencing homelessness and raised $100,000 for Avenues! The collective dreams of our guests were captured and transferred into this inspiring Building on Dreams Art (depicted above). 

In keeping with our theme of building on dreams, Avenues is expanding! We recently launched the ConneQT Host Home Program and are actively recruiting community members to open their homes for short stays (1 week to 3 months) to queer and trans youth experiencing homelessness. To learn more, contact Ryan Berg

In addition, HUD recently awarded Avenues almost $150,000 to support a new initiative we will launch in a few months -- Avenues for Young Families. This program will provide rent subsidies and support services to "rapidly rehouse" 12 youth-led families experiencing homelessness. This means we will get young families -- parents and children -- off the streets, into housing and on a path of stability and success in life!

In just 2 years, Avenues has doubled the number of homeless youth it supports annually -- from 150 to over 300 youth per year.

These new programs (and our existing programs) rely on community support. They need you. With government funding less than half our projected FY17 budget, we need to raise about $1.4 million in community donations this year. 

If you can help, please click on the Donate Now button below. Thank you!
Deborah Loon
Executive Director

Miss the breakfast? Check out our new short video about Avenues. 

When they arrive at Avenues, most youth are disconnected from school, work and family. It is particularly rewarding to watch our young people develop their education plans, re-engage with school, catch the bus in the morning, work on reports in our computer lab, help each other with homework, build their resumes, go to interviews and so much more! 
Sen. Scott Dibble receiving the first Avenues Ally Award from Executive Director Deb Loon
And the Avenues Ally Award Goes to... Senator Scott Dibble!

When we created our new Avenues Ally Award this year, it took no time at all to identify our first recipient: Senator Scott Dibble. We were honored to recognize this community leader, social justice advocate and long-time Avenues friend at Building on Dreams May 3. 

Senator Scott Dibble first became involved in politics in the mid-1980s working on issues concerning the civil rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) communities. His involvement led to organizing on issues of social and economic justice and eventually to public service. 

Senator Dibble's connection with Avenues goes back to the mid-1990s, when he actively participated in community conversations to address queer youth homelessness, which led to the startup of GLBT Host Home Program.  Since then, Senator Dibble has co-hosted numerous fundraisers and promotes the program whenever given the chance.

First elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in 2000, Senator Dibble has been a member of the Minnesota Senate since 2002. While he chairs the Transportation Committee, he annually carries legislation to increase the state's commitment to youth experiencing homelessness. This year, Senator Dibble's efforts added $2.9 million for FY18-19 to the Homeless Youth Act, bringing biennial state spending to just over $11 million for programs like Avenues. 

We are  honored to call Senator Dibble a friend. He is a tireless advocate who raises awareness AND funding for Minnesota's homeless youth. Thank you, Senator Dibble!
Cathy ten Broeke (left) with Rocki 
Rocki Invited to White House Briefing

Avenues' own Rocki Simões, program manager of the GLBT Host Home Program, was at The White House last week! She joined leaders from across the country, including Minnesota's Cathy ten Broeke, the True Colors Fund and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, to strategize solutions to prevent and end youth homelessness. Of the briefing, Rocki reports: "My biggest highlight was listening to eight young people speaking truth to power."
Legislature Adds Funds for Homeless Youth

We are happy to report the Minnesota Legislature's "Supplemental Budget Bill" included important new funds for the Homeless Youth Act (HYA) - $2.9 million for FY 2018-2019. This brings the biennial state appropriation to support programs across the state, like Avenues, to just over $11 million ($5.5 million per year).

Minnesota has more than 4,000 young people homeless everyday, but supportive services and housing for a very small proportion of them. While state funding has grown, the need greatly exceeds available funds. That is why continued increases in funding is so important. 

We are very grateful to the Minnesota Legislature and Governor Dayton for this important increase in state support of homeless youth. We would especially like to thank the authors of the 2016 Homeless Youth Act:
  • Senator Scott Dibble (chief author) and Senators Jim Abeler, Kent Eken, Jeff Hayden and Julie Rosen
  • Representative Laurie Halverson (chief author) and Representatives Connie Bernardy, Carolyn Laine, Diane Loeffler, Rena Moran, Erin Murphy, Dan Schoen, Linda Slocum, Anna Wills and Nick Zerwas. 
Welcome JP & Hailey to the Avenues Team! 

Hailey Alexander, Development Associate
Hailey joins Avenues' Development Department with responsibility for managing our donor data base, gift acknowledgements and in-kind donations. A recent graduate of the University of Minnesota, Hailey has degrees in Geography and Public Health. She is passionate about working with children and youth, and enjoys her volunteer time at HCMC where she brightens the stays of pediatric patients and their families with crafts and activities. Hailey loves the outdoors and frequently spends time hiking and camping. 

Jahleel (JP) Arcani, GLBT Host Home Program, Case Manager
JP brings 10 years leading young people of color to places of healing and self empowerment to his work with the young people of the GLBT Host Home Program. JP believes that, with tenderness, transparency and trust, communities can heal and break harmful cycles in inter-generational spaces. Since 2012, he has trained with and learned from the Children's Defense Fund: Freedom Schools, Trans Youth Support Network, Training for Change and YouthPrise. JP's work has supported over 50 youth-led and youth-serving groups around the U.S. to gain deeper understanding of, and practice healthy models of, youth-adult partnerships. In his spare time, you can find JP snuggled up on the couch, with a plate of pad thai and a good Netflix series. 
Employment Opportunities at Avenues

Check out our website for complete descriptions of the following positions at Avenues for Homeless Youth:
  • Marketing & Communications Specialist
  • Program Manager, Minneapolis Avenues
Wishlist: New Interview and Work Attire for Avenues Youth

Help a youth at Avenues nail their next job interview! Our clothing closet is in short supply of business wear, but youth are job-seeking. We need new or gently-used collared button-up shirts, blouses, business slacks, nice ties and belts. 

Other current needs also include new socks, underwear, pajamas, sweatpants / yoga pants, robes, slippers. We also love receiving pillows, XL twin sheets, gift cards, tickets for community events, toilet paper and facial tissues! 

To learn how you can donate, contact Hailey Alexander at 612-844-1217 or

Click here to read our entire wishlist of current needs.
Avenues for Homeless Youth | 612.844.2001 |