ADYC acknowledges that homelessness disproportionately affects American Indian people in the Twin Cities region. The most recent Wilder Research Minnesota Homeless Survey (2018) found that 12% of homeless adults and a staggering 22% of homeless youth identify as American Indian, while the entire population of Indigenous people in Minnesota is only 1.5%. In a 2017 study, 44% of homeless American Indian adults reported experiencing homelessness as a child, compared to 25% of other homeless adults. ADYC addresses these disparities daily through our holistic, culturally responsive model.
While several agencies serving homeless young people are available in the Twin Cities, agencies incorporating American Indian cultural practices are wholly absent. ADYC’s culturally responsive continuum of housing programming therefore stands apart and has proven uniquely successful, helping unsheltered American Indian youth achieve housing safety, stability, and economic self-sufficiency.
Our success results from our approach, which is rooted in the concept that creating spaces and places that foster a shared American Indian identity built on the values, cultural strengths, and spiritual traditions of American Indian communities, is key to helping young people overcome generations of historical trauma while equipping them for self-reliance and success. At ADYC, Culture IS Prevention. We intentionally prioritize American Indian cultures and traditions in our delivery of services through trauma-informed, strengths-based, and person-first approaches. As we help our youth understand historical trauma and replace a sense of blame and shame with positive cultural acquisition, we are also able to help them find healthy ways to respond to stress and trauma, and most importantly—heal.
Ain Dah Yung Center provides services through the following programs:
Emergency Shelter The only American Indian-centered youth emergency shelter in the Twin Cities, and the only East Metro shelter open 24/7/365 for youth ages 5-17. Services include emergency and short-term shelter, emergency services for children in need of protective supervision, crisis intervention, advocacy, referrals, health care, counseling, and case management.
Beverley A. Benjamin Youth Lodge – A transitional living program for youth ages 16-21 for up to 18 months, emphasizing training, education and employment goals while creating community and cultural connections.
Mino Oski Ain Dah Yung (“Good New Home” in Ojibwe) – Permanent Supportive Housing program for youth ages 18-24, providing culturally responsive housing, case management, mental health services, education, and workforce supports to at least 42 youth.
Zhawenimaa Safe Harbor (Meaning “They Are Loved Unconditionally” in Ojibwe) – Provides culturally specific, trauma informed care for Indigenous youth before, during, and after periods of sexual abuse and exploitation.
Ninijanisag (“Our Children” in Ojibwe) – Youth learn leadership, healthy living skills, and Native traditions such as drumming, singing, and cultural teachings.
Street Outreach Program – Outreach Workers meet homeless and runaway youth where they are, providing food, transportation, and referrals. Annually, this program typically reaches 2,500-3,000 youth.
Oyate Nawajin (“Stand with the People” in Lakota) – Supports families through group learning, increasing positive social networks, connection to cultural teachings, case management, referrals, resource acquisition, and general support. Circles of Support Project was added in 2022 as an important service in homeless prevention to guide young people in building natural support networks.
Nokomis Circle Project - Creates a bridge between Child Protection and the needs of our Native Families. The goal is to keep American Indian children out of placement whenever possible and aid in development of culturally specific case plans.
Learn more at adycenter.org!