Community with a View
It’s been a four-year-long journey, but it’s been worth every step. The Downtown View housing development has finally opened its doors to young people experiencing homelessness in Minneapolis. The result of a partnership with Project for Pride in Living (PPL), this development fills a critical need for youth ages 18 to 24.
Downtown View is a core component of YouthLink’s Ignite Change Campaign, Dr. Heather Huseby, YouthLink’s Executive Director, explains:
“This campaign is more than bricks and mortar. It’s really about an opportunity to invest in the lives of young people. In our partnership with PPL, we agreed the housing would be on-site at YouthLink to give Downtown View residents direct access to the services they need to succeed. YouthLink’s Ignite Change Campaign has raised over $4.5 million to help build out the right services at YouthLink, and our capacity to meet the needs of the thousands of young people who walk through our doors. We have a little over $1.5 million left to raise, and we are sincerely grateful to our community for investing in equal and inclusive opportunities for young people.”
Community is really the cornerstone of both the Ignite Change Campaign and Downtown View. After Lisa Goodman, Ward 7 City Council Member, connected YouthLink with PPL, everyone worked together to garner the support needed in the community to bring this project to life.
“There was a point where we thought this project was going to die, but we had a private investor come forward so we could continue on. We’ve been really blessed by the people in the city and county,” says Dr. Heather.
Now that the doors are open, it’s easy to see how much that sense of community is woven into every one of the 46 studio and quad-style units.
YouthLink helps deepen this sense of community with regular housing meetings, visits from Rufus the therapy dog, and community events like baseball games, rock climbing, barbecues, and G.E.M.—a program that allows youth to recognize their roommates and neighbors for going the extra mile.
The project has already had a big impact on the youth who have moved in.
Kofi, one of the first residents to move into Downtown View, says, “I watched them build from the ground up. I watched it day in and day out, having to wait. It reminded me of myself. Being able to be patient through long, long periods of time. I was in shock when I was finally handed the keys. It felt like a dream. It’s a world of endless possibilities—that’s what it felt like. I’ve been given the keys to a new life, a life that’s potentially gonna be made and set up by me.”
There are many ways you can get involved in YouthLink’s Ignite Change Campaign. For more information on how to make an investment of finances, time, or services, please log-on to DonateYouthLink.com or contact Frances Roen, Director of Development, at 612-252-1283.