In 2018 the Northwest Continuum of Care was awarded one of eleven federal HUD Youth Homeless Demonstration Project (YHDP) grants. From that partnership, coordinating agencies worked together with the mission of building and changing systems to identify and assist youth with unstable housing covering 12 counties in Northwest Minnesota.
The MyPaths website was launched as an outreach effort to empower Northwest Minnesota youth to ask for and connect to resources they need to prevent homelessness or find safe housing. Youth are able to access the website and mobile app to research resources in their designated areas and contact service providers. The MyPaths website also enlists the help of community champions. Community Champions are individuals who learn about local resources and volunteer to help identify at-risk youth in their communities. Currently the initiative is coordinated by Inter-County Community Council and available in: Clearwater, Pennington, Red Lake, East Polk, Norman, Marshall, Kittson, LOW, and Roseau counties. The website has a variety of information that can be helpful to those in transition. A blog article titled: Read this before you move out, a Mybudget calculator, an example of a lease that can be filled in to use, a resource map to find resources in your area or an area that you wish to move to.
Also listed on the MyPaths website is information on the Youth Action Board (YAB) As part of the Youth Homeless Demonstration Project a YAB was created to help give direction and policy guidance from a youth perspective. Youth 16-24 living in NW MN who are interested in solving housing issues are encouraged to join a meeting.
To assist in outreach efforts to youth ICCC was able to purchase 250 backpacks through a Building Systems Grant funded through the Northwest Minnesota Foundation. Backpacks were filled with daily supplies for transitioning youth. Backpacks were then distributed throughout the region to be available to youth who need them. Each one contains: personal hygiene products, laundry soap, rain poncho, mylar blanket, water bottle, journal, flashlight, Kleenex, hand sanitizer, wet wipes, bath towel, washcloth, manicure set, and first aid kit.
To date, the Youth Homeless Demonstration Project has served 65 of youth households with a total of 87 individuals.
We have distributed 175 of back packs within the region.