Happy Birthday to the Youth Opportunity Center!

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This year we celebrate the five-year anniversary of the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC)—and we can’t wait to show you how far we’ve come.

When Hennepin County created their plan to end homelessness in 2006, part of their solution was “Project Homeless Connect,” a one-day event that connected the homeless and at-risk community to basic needs, as well as employment and education opportunities. The event was so successful that Hennepin County realized there was a need for a “one-stop shop” model of services available to those experiencing homelessness 365 days a year. YouthLink applied to become the home of Hennepin County’s opportunity center for youth and young people, and was granted the chance to become the Youth Opportunity Center.

After renovations to YouthLink’s building, the Youth Opportunity Center opened in 2011 with fourteen partners. Over the past five years, we have worked with over fifty agencies to help connect young people with basic needs support, along with legal, employment, education, and other services. The YOC has spent this first half decade breaking down the barriers young people often face in accessing these services and providing them with a wider range of opportunities and resources.

To celebrate five years, we’ve asked our partners to tell you a little bit about themselves, what they do, and why places like the Youth Opportunity Center at YouthLink are important in ending youth homelessness. Keep an eye out over the rest of the year for guest blog posts filled with information about the YOC and the partnerships that make us who we are. We think you’ll see just how much we have to celebrate!

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