On any given night, an estimated 4,080 Minnesota youth experience homelessness. To provide comfort and care for these youth, legislation was introduced to fund an additional $2 million a year for programs under the Homeless Youth Act and raise the eligibility age for these programs to 24.
The need for support for homeless youth is large: last year the Department of Human Services received applications for over $20 million, more than five times the funds available. Furthermore, 25% of homeless adults first experience homelessness before the age of 17. The burdens of homelessness cost society a great deal of resources in health care, education, housing, and social services.
With more funding, homelessness organizations could help and host more youth, expand emergency shelter beds, and provide more transitional housing options, as well as increase street outreach and drop-in centers. By helping our homeless youth through transitional housing and other resources, we can help them find sustained and stable housing, allowing for a future that is more safe and dependable.
The bill was laid over for possible inclusion in the Health and Human Services Omnibus Budget Bill. (S.F. 548)