Jacqueline raising money for Nonprofits Assistance Fund
Youth experiencing homelessness need more than a bed. They need stable adults and a caring community!
The Minnesota Host Home Network supports tribal nations and rural, suburban, and urban communities in connecting youth experiencing homelessness with caring adults who provide housing in their homes and a stable presence. We facilitate networking and training opportunities for current and aspiring Host Home programs, research best practices, and create a clearinghouse of resources.
Youth experiencing homelessness need more than a bed. Our goal is to shift the conversation toward the #1 priority for unaccompanied youth (as identified in the Emerging Adult Advisory Committee 2013 report to the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness): Creating opportunities for connection with stable community adults who can potentially provide ongoing support.
Our current project, The Interview Project, is identifying practical strategies to strengthen informal hosting arrangements. Young people who need a place to stay are often resourceful, finding a place to crash with extended kin, the parent of a friend, or another adult. These “outside the system” arrangements, commonly called “couch-hopping,” can be thought of as “informal hosting.” Sometimes they offer the youth stability, but other times the arrangements are precarious or even dangerous. Sometimes youth can couch-hop for a year or more before coming to the attention of social services. Learning how to better support these relationships--and make sure they are safe--represents an opportunity to catch youth earlier, before their homelessness becomes entrenched. Yet next to nothing is known about these youth-initiated arrangements. Through in-depth interviews with these enterprising youth and their informal hosts, we are identifying practical strategies that can help stabilize informal youth-initiated hosting arrangements.
The Minnesota Host Home Network is a statewide effort. We convene community members and staff from across Minnesota--Anoka County, Bois Forte Reservation, Brainerd, Elk River, Leech Lake Reservation, Mora, Rochester, Washington County, as well as the Twin Cities--at networking and training "huddles" that one participant from rural Minnesota described as "priority events for us." The Network director is Jacqueline White (also known as Host Home Mom), who was herself a Host Home host: she later legally adopted the young woman she had hosted with her former partner.
Because Host Home programs rely on community members to provide housing, they widen the conversation about youth homelessness, helping to frame youth homelessness as a community issue. Together, we can help youth feel a sense of belonging in communities that care about them.
We're grateful to fiscal sponsorship through Nonprofits Assistance Fund, which provides the Minnesota Host Home Network 501c3 status. Your donation on this page will directly fund the Minnesota Host Home Network and is completely tax deductible. We so appreciate everyone who pitches in!