Partner Post: Strong Partners Make a Strong Program

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Happy Birthday, YOC!
We’re celebrating the five-year anniversary of the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC)—a collaboration of over 30 agencies providing services to young people all in one location to help break down barriers youth face. To celebrate, we’ve asked our partners to share a little bit more about what they do, after all, the YOC wouldn’t exist without them!




By Kris Berggren
Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative

At Nicollet Square, the successful collaboration among developer Beacon Interfaith Housing Collaborative, service provider YouthLink, and property manager CommonBond has offered a sense of safety and stability to 139 youth since it opened in 2010.

One example is Jarell*, who came to the United States at age 12 with his family, learned English quickly, and did well in high school. But, when Jamal was just 16, his father moved back to Ethiopia – their country of origin – for medical reasons, leaving Jamal and his siblings to make their own way.

“At that age you still need support,” Jarell said. While living with another family for a while, then on his own, he faltered and felt uncertain about his future. Arriving at Nicollet Square, he found a place to clear his head.

Now 21, Jarell works part time as an assisted living aide while attending Minneapolis Community and Technical College with plans to major in nursing.

“Having a stable place to live means having a peaceful state of mind,” he said. “Nicollet Square is a place [for me] to focus and work on rebuilding myself.”

Supportive housing ends homelessness. It’s that simple, yet it’s anything but simple to create and operate. It takes vision, a long-term commitment, sustainable funding – and strong partners like ours doing what they do best.


*Names changed to protect client privacy

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