City of Duluth’s Workforce Development awarded three year grant for Youthprise program

The City of Duluth Workforce Development has been awarded a three-year grant from Youthprise, a Twin Cities based youth-serving intermediary organization.

This funding comes from the Minnesota State Legislature to pilot solutions for young people out of homelessness. Representative Kozlowski (MN-08B) and Senator McEwen (MN-08) were chief-authors of the bill.

The Minnesota Department of Human Services, Office of Economic Opportunity Division granted the award to Youthprise to implement a Homeless Youth Cash Stipend Pilot Project. The statewide project will be implemented in collaboration with other innovative partnerships throughout the state of Minnesota, including Life House. Its purpose is to promote successful transitions to adulthood for youth and young adults experiencing homelessness, particularly young people of color, including African-American and indigenous youth, who are disproportionately impacted by homelessness in the region.

135 youth ages 18-24 will be enrolled across the three geographic regions (Northern St. Louis County, Duluth and surrounding areas; Hennepin County) in the pilot. Each participant will receive youth-directed services and cash stipends, which will be used to support housing stability and to create brighter futures for themselves through education, entrepreneurship, job training, or other avenues of their own choosing.

The pilot project’s goal is to determine what leads to better outcomes for young people who have experienced and/or who are at risk for homelessness.

“Youthprise is excited to lead this project, which will help to move young people ages 18-24 from housing instability to positioning them to realize their full potential and achieve their goals,” said Marcus Pope, Youthprise’s president. Director of Workforce Development Elena Foshay echoed Pope’s enthusiasm, saying, “City of Duluth Workforce Development is excited to be a part of this innovative project that will create lasting impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable young adults in our community. We are thrilled to work with Youthprise, Life House, and Duluth community partners to co-create a model that honors youth voice and is based on youth priorities.”

Program components will include identifying eligible homeless youth; engaging with cash stipend recipients to develop youth-designed optional services; providing technical assistance to cash stipend recipients; and evaluating the efficacy and cost-effectiveness of the pilot program; collaborating with youth leaders to identify and contract with the appropriate service providers to offer financial coaching, housing navigation, employment services, education services, and trauma-informed mentoring and support.

The Homeless Youth Cash Stipend Pilot Project was designed by and to meet the needs of youth experiencing homelessness and housing instability in northern and southern St. Louis County and Hennepin County. In addition to helping to stabilize program participants, its purpose is also to develop an evidence base to determine the effectiveness of this model to lead to long-term housing stability.

The project will be launched in the fall of 2024.