Center for Changing Lives Ready to Help Homeless Youth

June 08, 2017 10:03 PM

It's a building that holds the promise of hope and healing. The Center for Changing Lives is ready to start helping homeless youth find a new path.

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On Thursday, Eyewitness News was able to take a tour of the 27,000 square foot building on E. Superior Street. It's three stories, and each level has a purpose.

The first level is for the services that Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota provides to nearly 900 young people in Duluth. It will include a teen health center, the Truancy Action Project, and life skills education.

Then, the second level is individual apartments, to provide affordable housing to youth.

On the third level is the Renaissance transitional housing program, which includes individual rooms, with communal dining, kitchen, and laundry spaces. The Renaissance program also encourages life skills and case management.

Each living space has new furniture, to make sure the young people felt special and worth the investment.

Jen Julsrud is the Director of the center, and gave us a tour.

"It's a dream come true for us," she said. "Now it's about getting the youth in here, to this welcoming space, where they will feel the love and support of the staff. The young people can't wait to move in here. After all, some are used to living in abandoned buildings or abandoned train cars."

The plan is to start moving in the office folks and programs in the coming weeks, and then in July start having young people move in as well. For 100+ years, LSS and their youth programs have been spread at six different locations. Now they'll be under one roof.

Funding for the $9 million dollar project was a combination of bond, donations, and grants.

The CEO of LSS of Minnesota, Jodi Harpstead, explained that they are now launching a new campaign. "It's not a fundraiser though. It's our 500 Ideas Campaign. We're looking for 500 ideas from the community on ending homelessness for youth in Duluth."

You can submit your ideas on the LSS MN Facebook page, using #LSSYouth500Ideas

And you can also check out the Center during two public open houses:

June 11: 2-4pm and June 12: 5-7pm


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